Dr. Torbjorn Ottersen

Areas of specialization:

Music and Politics; Memory Studies; Opera; Music Historiography

Areas of competence:

Historical Musicology


Personal website

I recently completed a PhD in Music at Girton College, Cambridge, supervised by Nicholas Cook. Drawing on the field of memory studies, my thesis examined three musical works written in commemoration of events that took place during the Second World War—Arnold Schoenberg’s A Survivor from Warsaw, Rudolf Mauersberger’s Dresdner Requiem, and Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem—tracing the entanglement of history, memory, and music from the date of composition until the present.Prior to my PhD I studied flute performance at the Norwegian Academy of Music, followed by a BA in Music at University College, Oxford, and graduate studies at Magdalen College, Oxford, and at Harvard University. Between my studies at Harvard and at Cambridge I received authorisation as a Government Authorised Translator, Norwegian–English and English–Norwegian, from the Norwegian School of Economics.

At the Polonsky Academy I am working on a research project entitled ‘Staging the Present’, which will examine documentary opera and Regieoper in the period since World War II.