Pianist/composer Dag Arnesen, was born and raised in Bergen, a city located on the west coast of Norway. He started classical piano lessons when he was seven-years-old with Else Haadem Erstad, and at the age of sixteen appeared as a soloist with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, at De Unges Konsert (Young Talent’s Concert) playing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.1. Arnesen was educated at the Music Conservatory in Bergen where he studied classical piano with Jirij Hlinka. However, as time passed, jazz became his main interest.
Dag started his professional career as a musician at Bergen’s main theatre, Den Nationale Scene. Since the mid-seventies, he has led many jazz groups: trios, quartets, quintets, a sextet and a septet. Almost all of the music performed by these groups was composed and arranged by Dag. Arnesen has often been commissioned to write music for big band, choirs and various ensembles and has composed music for three films. Dag Arnesen has been a regular guest at the jazz festivals in Norway, where he has toured extensively. He has also toured throughout Europe, playing concerts and festivals, as well as performing in Japan, China, India, Vietnam, Argentina, New York and Canada.
Dag Arnesen has a lifelong relationship with Edvard Grieg’s music. Together with his trio, he has had fabulous success with his Norwegian Song records where treasures from the Norwegian song heritage have been interpreted in a jazz manner. On their fourth album in the series, the trio has been replaced by the Bergen Big Band and this time Arnesen has written entirely new arrangements of Edvard Grieg’s music and selected Norwegian folk tunes. Dag now has a newly started trio with Magne Thormodsæter and Øyvind Skarbø, who have previously played a lot together in various band contexts. The trio will carry on the Norwegian Song concept and more.