Grieg Research School in Interdisciplinary Music Studies
Invited Speaker

Silje Marie Aker Johnsen

A search within a multidisciplinary practice

Main content

Silje Aker Johnsen shares research and experience from her own practice and her PhD project “A search for an extended physical interpretation of contemporary vocal music and of opera”. The PhD project was finished in 2019 at the Opera Academy, Oslo National Academy og the Arts.

The project focused on the combination of movement and voice in different scenic settings and expressions.  Silje Aker Johnsen’s background is rooted in the classical music tradition, opera and contemporary music, but she has also worked as a dancer and in multidisciplinary stage arts.

The project traces processes and reflections on developement of material and scenic works, and the potential role of the multidisciplinary performer in different material-developing situations.  Relations to different genres, variations in co-creativity and aspects of preparation, training and improvisation in the developement of a practice, are discussed.

Furthermore, aspects of the PhD project developement from idea to processes within the PhD project and the practice after finishing the PhD project will be reflected upon.

The key note presentation will have a mixed form of oral presentation, video and picture presentation of performer scales and methods developed during the PhD project and demonstrations of vocal-physical exercises and practices.

Key Questions

  • How can I as performer expand my vocal and physical scenic expression, perhaps towards becoming a hybrid performer?
  • How will this affect how I work as a performer in different scenic settings, situations and modes of production?

Recommended Reading


Silje Aker Johnsen is a soprano and dancer. She holds a PhD in Artistic Research from the Opera Academy, Oslo National Academy of the Arts, with the project «A search for an extended physical interpretation of contemporary vocal music and of opera». She is also educated at the Grieg Academy, Bergen, Universität der Künste, Berlin and the Norwegian Academy of Music, Oslo.Silje made her debut with the Berliner Kammeroper in 2006.She has guested the Norwegian National Opera in Ballerina by Synne Skouen, with Her by Erik Dæhlin and Silje Aker Johnsen and in several other works.She has worked as a dancer in the Polish Dance Theatre, where she f ex danced in Minus 2 by Ohad Naharin. She is a member of Ensemble Neon, who won Spellemannspris for their debut album in 2016. Silje was awarded Performer of the Year 2013 by The Norwegian Society of Composers.