"What every harpist wants to do with their strings.The effects are stunning, the resolution is a breath of fresh air."
Uno Alexander Vesje (1989) is a Norwegian harpist and composer. Uno studied harp performance at the Manhattan School of Music in New York City and earned his Masters Degree at the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo. In 2017, Uno earned a Masters Degree in Composition at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology with the project Harp – from solo to bigger format.
Uno has won a number of prizes and scholarships for his harp compositions as well as his performances on the instrument. His accolades include silver medal at the 5th Manhattan International Music Competition (2020), third prize in the Harp Column New Music Contest (2020), Winner of the 6th USA International Harp Competition Composition Contest (2019) and third prize in the International Edvard Grieg Composition Contest (2014). His international debut as performer/composer took place at Carnegie Hall in New York City in 2016.
Uno has performed as a soloist with orchestras such as the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Arctic Philharmonic Sinfonietta and performed the world premiere of his own harp concerto with the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra & Opera. The harp concerto Bragi’s Harp was selected to be performed with the Bergen Philharmonic Youth Orchestra at the final gala concert at the Young Nordic Music Festival in 2018 and has been performed in four different orchestra productions. Just before the corona lockdown in 2020 Uno world premiered his biggest solo project "Our Planet, Our Future" commissioned by Helsinki Harp Festival. This is a 45 minute political composition about the climate crisis for solo harp and electronic elements. Uno has performed as a soloist of his own compositions and projects in venues around the world including the Hong Kong Jockey Club Amphitheater at the World Harp Congress, the Helsinki Music Centre, the Oslo Concert Hall at TEDx, at TivoliVredenburg in Utrecht for the Dutch Harp Festival, University Aula in Oslo, at Samtidsfest in Olavshallen (Trondheim) and Grieghallen in Bergen. As a chamber musician Uno has played in venues all over Norway with international acclaimed performers such as; Avi Avital, Mari Samuelsen, Lise Davidsen, Tom Ottar Andreassen and in multidisciplinary projects with dancers like Eugenie Skilnand (prima ballerina in the Norwegian Opera & Ballet) and Sarjo Sankareh (afro jazz dance).
For the 2021 season Uno are working on a commission for the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra Chamber Series for flute, viola and harp to be premiered in Lambda (the new Munch museum), a commission about domestic violence for Vocal Vivo (women choir and harp) and a commission to honor the legendary harpist Dr. Ruth Inglefield at the World Harp Congress in Wales. Uno is also one of the finalists in the World Harp Competition in the Netherlands (finale postponed because of covid19).
Uno has contributed to a number of recordings as both a harpist and composer. After winning the Gold prize in Audio Engineering Society Recording Competition in Berlin (2014) with the soprano Margrethe Fredheim for the The Exquisite Hour (EP), Uno released his first solo album Poems From a City (Sweet Sound Records 2014). In November 2017 Uno released his second album, Oslo(ve) (Audio Records AS) with his own compositions for harp, strings and flute, receiving great reviews from international press.
As an orchestral musician Uno serves as a stand-in harpist in a number of professional orchestras, such as The Norwegian Radio Orchestra, The Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, The Norwegian National Opera & Ballet, The Arctic Philharmonic Orchestra, The Trondheim Symphony Orchestra & Opera and The Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra.
Uno's compositions are published by Lyon & Healy Inc. in Chicago.