Gunvald Ottesen (b. April 3rd 1993) grew up in Stord, an island town on the west coast of Norway. He completed his masters degree in orchestral conducting at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, with B. Tommy Andersson in June 2020. Prior to this he did his bachelor degree in orchestral conducting at the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo with Ole Kristian Ruud and Sigmund Thorp, as well as one year as an exchange student in Stockholm, with Glenn Mossop. Gunvald also has a background as a violinist, studying with Terje Moe Hansen in Oslo and Jannica Gustafsson in Stockholm.
Growing up on the west coast of Norway, Gunvald played violin in several string orchestras and youth orchestras in and around the Bergen region. Gunvald also spent his younger years in theatre and musical theatre, which has led him to specialize his conducting career towards opera and musical theatre conducting.
For several years, Gunvald has conducted productions at the Oslo Operafestival, such as «Don Giovanni» in 2018 and «Così fan tutte» in 2019, as well as the world premiere of Kjell Habbestad’s opera «Karlstad 1905» in 2016.
Parallell to his studies, he often worked as assistant conductor in larger scale productions, such as «The Magic Flute» in 2017 (assistant to Magnus Loddgard), «Il Trovatore» in 2019 (assistant to Gregor Bühl), both at Opera Østfold, and «Don Giovanni» at NorrlandsOperan in 2020 (assistant to Benjamin Bayl). He has also assisted and conducted productions at the opera academies in Oslo and Stockholm.
In the last few years, Gunvald has been working with orchestras like Stavanger Symphony Orchestra and Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra in Norway, and Norrköping Symphony Orchestra, Gävle Symphony Orchestra as well as the orchestras of Gothenburg Opera and NorrlandsOperan in Sweden. In the fall of 2020, he made his debut with Gothenburg Opera, conducting a production of the musical «Cabaret».
During the period 2019-2021, Gunvald has been a participant in the Norwegian elite conducting program «Dirigentforum», aiming to give experience and masterclasses to the most talented young conductors in Norway.