Karsten Andersen

Born: February 16th, 1920, Fredrikstadt (Norway)
Died: December 15th, 1997, Oslo (Norway)
Nationality: Norwegian

Karsten Andersen studied at the Oslo Musikkonservatorium and made his debut as a violinist in 1939. During the war years, he was a member of the Filharmonisk Selskaps Orkester in Oslo. In 1947, he spent a year in Siena, Italy, to study at the Accademia Chigiana.

Between 1945 and 1964, Andersen lived in Stavanger, where he was the conductor of the Stavanger Byorkester, a classical orchestra, as well as the musical director of the entertainment orchestra of the local NRK broadcasting station. In ’64, Andersen took up the job of conductor of the Musikkselskabet Harmonien (the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra), which he would fulfil for more than twenty years, moreover functioning as the ensemble’s artistic director from 1966 onwards. Between 1970 and 1976, he also was the principal conductor of the Sinfóníuhljómsveit Íslands (the Iceland Symphony Orchestra). Over the years, Andersen made appearances as a guest conductor with various renowned ensembles abroad, including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (London) and the Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra.

Between 1985 and 1988, the year he retired from music, he was a professor and musical director at the Norges Musikkhøgskole, co-founding a youth orchestra, the Ungdomssymfonikerne (in collaboration with Leif Jørgensen and Harry Kvebaek). During his career, Karsten Andersen composed some modern classical works. For his services to Norwegian music, he was rewarded with the Norsk Kulturråds Musikkpris (1974) and the Norske Stats Kunstnerpris (1975).

Karsten Andersen made one appearance in the Eurovision Song Contest, in 1964, when he replaced the regular Norwegian conductor of those years, Øivind Bergh; at that time, Bergh was in the United States for reasons of study. Andersen, in one of his lasts assignments for NRK (he resigned later in ’64 to work for the Harmonien in Bergen), conducted ‘Spiral’, a song composed by Sigurd Jansen, who had written the orchestration. Interpreted by Arne Bendiksen, this effort came eighth in a field of sixteen entries. Both Jansen and Bendiksen would one day return to the contest as conductors of Norwegian Eurovision entries themselves.

In due course, a more extensive biography of Karsten Andersen will be published on this website


Songs conducted
1964: Spiral