Heidi Skjerve

(b. 1979, Rennebu)

Heidi Skjerve is a versatile vocalist working in the field of jazz, contemporary music, traditional Norwegian folk music, improvised music and theater. Besides working as a performing artist and composer, she also teaches jazz vocals at Department of Music at NTNU in Trondheim. 

As a composer Skjerve writes music for her own band projects. She has also composed and arranged music for large ensembles such as the Norwegian Air Force Band, NTNU jazz ensemble, choirs and chamber ensembles such as TSO Horse D’Age (small sinfonietta), string quartet, brass quintet and more.

Education:

She studied jazz at NTNU, Department of Music in Trondheim (1998-2002), with teachers such as John Pål Inderberg and Eldbjørg Raknes, and at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm as an exchange student (2001). She also studied music technology (2003-2004) and composition (2018- 2019) at NTNU.

Professional career:

Skjerve is a long-term member of the improvising vocal ensemble Trondheim Voices since 2001. Trondheim Voices has been working with the countless possibilities of vocal improvisation, and exploring new technology for live sound processing, such as the custom made Maccatrol by Asle Karstad. They have performed commissioned works at festivals in Norway and abroad and collaborated with composers and musicians such as Maja S. K. Ratkje, Jon Balke, Ståle Storløkken, Mats Gustafson, Marilyn Mazur, Eirik Hegdal and more. In 2014 they participated in the musical “Hundre Hemmeligheter” (“A Hundred Secrets”) by Cirka Theater with music by Eirik Hegdal, a performance for which they won the Norwegian theatre award the “Hedda prize”. They have also released several highly acclaimed albums: “Improvoicing”, “Rooms and Rituals”, “Folklore”, “Ekkokammer”.

In 2006 Heidi released her critically acclaimed debut CD “Coming Home” on the jazz label Curling Legs, featuring her own songs. The quintet consisted of Espen Reinertsen – Saxophone, Erlend Slettevoll -Piano, Roger Arntzen – Bass and Truls Rønning – Drums. Two years later she released “Morning News of the Woods” with a new rythm section Rune Nergaard on Bass and Gard Nilssen on Drums, also featuring Nidaros String Quartet and the Norwegian pop artist Tom Hell. 

“Norwegian singer Heidi Skjerve has put together a top-notch collection of young jazz musicians who are making a real name for themselves in Scandinavia (…) The singer also composed all the quintet’s songs. Although she has clearly been influenced by jazz standards (“Love’s Philosophy”), Skjerve also employs modal chord structures and folk sensibility (“The Gypsy”) to create echoes of everyone from Miles Davis to Joni Mitchell and Nick Drake. This warm and very personal brand of music will likely appeal to longtime jazz fans and provide a nice entrée for those less familiar with the genre.”  – The Wire

Alongside jazz she has studied Norwegian folk tunes in the old traditional way, learning from old archive recordings. In 2011 Skjerve started the project “Jazz from the woods” with her reputable former teacher John Pål Inderberg (bariton sax), the acknowledged pianist Vigleik Storaas and the upcoming bass player Trygve Fiske. The quartet is playing old Norwegian folk tunes and hymns in a jazz manner. They have released two albums: “Vegen åt deg” (“The road to you”, Øra Fonogram 2012) and “Jazz frå skogom” (“Jazz from the Woods”, Øra Fonogram, 2015). 

“She challenges herself and her masters by making folk tunes and cool jazz into a higher unity and creates a highly personal expression. Yes indeed, Heidi Skjerve sets the course for a new and distinctively Norwegian improvisational music.” – Erling Wicklund, NRK (Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation)

Skjerve has frequently had soloist assignments with the Norwegian Air Force Band, Trøndelag Big Band, Trondheim Jazz Orchestra and other big bands. She has performed the soprano soloist parts in Duke Ellingtons “Sacred Concert” several times with different big bands and choirs in Norway.

She was awarded the Geir Digernes’ Memorial Award in 2008. 

She has a one year work scholarship from the Norwegian Arts Council in 2021.