Roar Engelberg & Stein-Erik Olsen.
It was during a T.V. appearance in 1984 that the two musicians met for the first time. Roar Engelberg had no accompanist for his solo. By chance, Stein-Erik Olsen had also been engaged for the same programme and was only too happy to step in.
The combination of panpipes and guitar proved to be an excellent combination and the idea to start a duo comprising the two musicians was born.
The biggest problem at the start was finding suitable repertoire. Little existed and the only solution was to arrange music originally composed for other instruments.
Since these early days they have managed to engage composers to write especially for them, including Henning Sommerro, John Duarte and Nikita Koshkin.
The duo recorded their first album in 1988 and have since performed extensively both in Norway and abroad ,as a duo and as solo artists.
They present a varied program with emphasis on classical music, but also continue to perform traditional panpipes music from Rumania and south America and popular “gems” from all walks of musical life.
They have performed together with bands, choirs and symphony orchestras.
Stein-Erik Olsen, got his education at the Bergen Conservatory of Music and the Norwegian State Academy of Music, his post-graduate teachers have included Alexandre Lagoya, at the Concervatoire National Superieur de Musique de Paris, and the Czech pianist Jiri Hlinka.
His international career began in 1974, when he represented Norway in the Expo Norr Festival in Sweden, since when he has been invited to many other international festivals and has toured extensively, giving concerts - including concerto performances (among these, of course the Concierto de Aranjuez), appearing on radio and television, throughout Europe, Great Britain, India and Korea.
In 1986 his debut recital in the Wigmore Hall, London, was rewarded with undiluted praise from the critics and his recordings have been similarly well received. Stein-Erik Olsen has had works written for him by eminent contemporary composers. Those by Ketil Hvoslef, Olav Berg, John Duarte, Nikita Koshkin and Stepan Rak are featured in his recordings for Simax.
Following his London debut Music & Musicians magazine commented: "He is a master of his craft and a genuine artist" and writing of his first recording Alice Artzt (New York) wrote: "The world of music must welcome him with open arms". Following his last solo recording the American critic William Zagorski (Fanfare) wrote: "I would install him in the pantheon of guitar greats somewhere near Julian Bream".
Stein-Erik Olsen now a truly international guitarist of distinction currently teaches (Ass. Prof.) at the Grieg Academy, Department of Music, University of Bergen, returning full-circle to his "Alma matar" to teach others who hope to follow in his footsteps.
Roar Engelberg is Norway’s first internationally recognized performer on the pan flute. He is Scandinavia’s leading artist on that demanding instrument. Engelberg’s interest in music for pan flute was aroused at the age of eleven when he heard a radio program with music for that instrument. Both the music, a Romanian Gypsy melody, and the instrument’s sound greatly moved him.
It was not easy for a lad from Romedal in Hedmark to acquire an authentic instrument, but Roar found one in Hamar music shop. He taught himself melodies gleaned from recordings, and when a touring Romanian ensemble come to Norway with the eminent pan flute player Nicolae Pirvu, Roar heard and met this specialist and played for him after a concert. This encounter led to free instruction and the acquisition of low cost quality instrument.
Roar Engelberg later obtained a formal
musical education. In 1989 he took diploma examination at the Hilversum
Conservatory in the Netherlands with highest distinction.
A typical accolade from the esteemed periodical Classical Guitar, (1989) reads; "He certainly can play!" This remark followed one of many concerts with Norway’s eminent guitarist Stein-Erik Olsen. A winner of many awards, Roar Engelberg has made numerous recordings.