The Norwegian conductor Grete Pedersen is one of the most renowned conductors in the international choral scene. Since 1990 Grete Pedersen is Music Director of the Norwegian Soloists’ Choir whose recordings were awarded the ‘Choc de la Musique’, ‘Prix d’Or’ from Diapason and a ‘Record of the year’ by Gramophone.
Grete Pedersen is a demanded guest conductor and has worked with choirs and orchestras such as Eric Ericson Kammerchor, Swedish Radio Choir, Danish National Vocal Ensemble & Choir, Rundfunkchor Berlin, Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks, MDR Rundfunkchor, Netherlands Chamber Choir, Netherlands Radio Choir, Chamber Choir Ireland, Pro Coro Canada, Tokyo Cantat, World Youth Choir.
She has led oratorios and choral symphonic works by J.S. Bach, Haydn, Bruckner, Bernstein and Berio with leading Norwegian orchestras, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Slovenian Philharmonic, Yale Camerata, Oslo Sinfonietta and Ensemble Allegria. Forthcoming projects include engagements with Gulbenkian Orchestra & Choir, Croatian Radio Symphony & Choir, Orquesta y Coro de la Comunidad de Madrid, Eric Ericson Chamber Choir, Dunedin Consort, Cappella Amsterdam, Netherlands Chamber Choir, Netherlands Bachvereniging, Chamber Choir Ireland among others.
At the start of her musical studies, Grete Pedersen founded the Oslo Chamber Choir in 1984 and worked with them for 20 years particularly with oratorio repertoire and contemporary music. She studied Norwegian folk music and has learnt from folk musicians and their traditions. Today she is considered a pioneer for her work bringing folk music to new settings and for the arrangements based on these roots. This is notwithstanding always challenging the tradition.
As a church musician educated at the Norwegian Academy of Music, Grete Pedersen was a part of the movement of historical informed performances from the beginning of the 1980s and has worked amongst others with the Freiburger Barockorchester, Oslo Bach Ensemble, Norwegian Barokkanerne, Barokksolistene, Drottningholm Barokkensemble.
On the contemporary scene Grete Pedersen is known as an unafraid advocate for new music and has commissioned and performed numerous pieces by leading composers. One example is Bach in our time– a project over three years where composers James MacMillan, Lasse Thoresen, and Stefan Schleiermacher composed new music in dialogue with Bach’s B minor Mass. Here Grete Pedersen also worked with the Norwegian Barokkanerne and Norwegian Radio Orchestra. Pedersen’s name stands for productions and stagings with wide stylistic variety. Her contrasting concert programmes are known to often be a rather radical mixture. In addition to premiering contemporary musical works, her efforts have increasingly been directed towards larger productions for choir and orchestra.
BIS Records has released numerous award-winning recordings by Grete Pedersen and the Norwegian Soloists Choir with works by Per Norgard, Kaija Saariaho, Fartein Valen, Alfred Janson, Knut Nystedt, Nils Henrik Asheim, Lars Petter Hagen, Edvard Grieg, Iannis Xenakis, Helmut Lachenmann, Alban Berg, Olivier Messiaen, Anton Webern, Brahms, Schubert, J.S. Bach and Norwegian Folk Music. Her albums of Luciano Berio: Coro and J.S. Bach: Motets were awarded the Diapason d’Or in the years 2020 and 2018. Grete Pedersen and The Norwegian Soloists’ Choir lately received the renowned Spellermann Prize for their album Lament (compositions by Lars Petter Hagen, Nils Henrik Asheim and Arne Nordheim) on BIS Records.
Grete Pedersen completed her postgraduate studies in conducting at the Norwegian State Academy of Music in Oslo and has also studied chorus conducting with Eric Ericson and orchestra conducting with Kenneth Kiesler.
In 2019, Grete Pedersen was appointed Knight 1st Class of the Royal Norwegian St. Olavs Order for her merit and outstanding achievements in the arts and was awarded the distinguished Lindeman Prize to honour her significant contribution to the musical life of Norway.
She teaches as a professor in conducting at the Norwegian State Academy of Music since 1996 and is a sought-after teacher for masterclasses.