The Feminist Guide to the Sinfonietta


Sinfonietta, narrator and footnotes


by Ensemble Ernst with support from Arts Council Norway


ca. 20 min



“The Feminist Guide to the Sinfonietta” is a piece of music, but also a kind of chitchat radio play with added sound. It’s silly and sarcastic and awkward and dull and at times way over the top.

But it also has a more profound sound dimension, and this is how I often work: I take something I have strong feelings or opinions about, and then I stretch it out, give it a backdrop, blow it up or shrink it such that the proportions don’t work anymore. And hopefully this leads to the audience leaving the concert hall with different thoughts than when they went in.


What is it like to perform this piece? Have you gotten any reactions?

Ja! Both positive and negative. Even if most of the negative reactions haven’t been expressed to me directly, there have been those, too. But honestly I didn’t expect any different. In fact, it’s been more surprising for me to hear people appreciate the piece also for itself, not only for the text. I’ve performed it four times in three very different settings and it’s been somewhat of a learning curve. It changes slightly every time in terms of audience, venue and who’s playing. Also in respect to myself. I feel that I as well have grown into the role of the narrator in this piece.


And do you notice any progress within your practice; has MeToo arrived in contemporary music and the composer’s profession?

I definitely notice a change, as opposed to a few years back, in what topics are acceptable to talk about. Nowadays it’s not only legitimate, but even encouraged to talk about recruiting women, about power imbalances, to document gender imbalances in different contexts and so forth. That leads to more spaces for these conversations about gender and composition and I welcome that. A colleague of mine put it this way: only a few years ago, this piece of yours (The Feminist Guide) could not have been composed. And I agree with that.


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Read watermarked score here:

World premiere

by Ensemble Ernst and conductor Thomas Rimul, with the composer as soloist 17.9.2018 in Kulturkirken Jakob, Oslo.

The concert with Ensemble Ernst was given by the Ultima Festival to nyMusikk as a birthday present on the occasion of their 80th anniversary.



Other performances


by Ensemble Ernst, the composer as soloist, conducted by Thomas Rimul, at the feminist festival “Talk Town” i København. The piece was programmed/invitet by the Danish Composers’ Society. The piece was performed twice.



by Artic Philharmonic’s Sinfonietta, the composer as soloist, conducted by Tim Weiss at Nordic Music Days in Bodø.



by BIT20, the composer as soloist, conducted by Christian Karlsen in Grieghallen, as a part of the concert series #NORDEN, Bergen

Pictures from a performance with BIT20:

BIT 20, dirigent Christian Karlsen og komponisten 28.08.2021

foto: Thor Brødreskift

The Feminist Guide to the Sinfonietta in the press:

After the world premiere in 2018:

After the concert in Bodø 2019:

After the concert in Bergen 2021:

Video from the performance with Arctic Philharmonic’s Sinfonietta and Tim Weiss

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