“— I can wholeheartedly recommend Mr Ottesen. He is not only a very talented conductor, but he is already a very experienced opera conductor, offering quality listening to both music and text issues.”
- Eivind Gullberg Jensen
“— I can only hope that Gunvald gets all the support he needs to start his own career in the music world, especially in opera.”
- Professor Gregor Bühl
Born in 1993, Gunvald 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. Gunvald spent his younger years in theatre and musical theatre, which has led him to specialize his conducting career towards opera and musical theatre conducting. He also chose to write his masters thesis on the subject of opera conducting, to great acclaim from his professors.
Already as a student, Gunvald conducted several 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», «Il Trovatore», both at Opera Østfold, and «Don Giovanni» at NorrlandsOperan.
Just after finishing his masters degree, he made his professional debut with Gothenburg Opera, conducting a production of the musical «Cabaret». In 2021, he was music director for the Norwegian premiere production of the Swedish musical «Kristina från Duvemåla» at Bømlo Teater, a production he reprised in 2023.
Gunvald made his house debut at Folkoperan in Stockholm in the spring of 2022 with German director Ulrike Schwab’s production of «Così fan tutte», which was revived at Uppsala Stadsteater the following season. In December 2022 he made his house debut at Bergen Nasjonale Opera and the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra with Menotti’s «Amahl and the Night Visitors». He returned to Folkoperan in Stockholm in the fall season of 2023, as first conductor for «Tidens Larm».
Gunvald has worked extensively as assistant conductor in opera productions. After assisting conductor Eivind Gullberg Jensen in Simon McBurney’s acclaimed production of «Die Zauberflöte» at Bergen Nasjonale Opera, he returns to the company in 2024 to assist Austrian conductor Alfred Eschwé in a new production of «Die Fledermaus». In the spring of 2023 he assisted Swedish conductor Tobias Ringborg in a new production of «Così fan tutte» at the Norwegian National Opera & Ballet in Oslo.
Gunvald also enjoys working with symphonic orchestras, and in recent years he has conducted orchestras like the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra and Stavanger Symphony Orchestra in Norway, and Norrköping Symphony Orchestra, Gävle Symphony Orchestra as well as the orchestras of Gothenburg Opera and NorrlandsOperan in Sweden. He has also worked several times with the Royal Swedish Navy Band and the Norwegian Wind Ensemble.
During the period 2019-2021, Gunvald was a participant in the Norwegian elite conducting program «Dirigentforum», aiming to give experience and masterclasses to the most talented young conductors in Norway.