Ofelia Ossum

Musician and composer

Photo: Bård Gundersen


Julie Ofelia Østrem Ossum (b. 1990) is a Norwegian musician and composer, and her main instruments are cello, piano and voice. Although playing mostly classical music growing up, she has mainly focused on alternative indie/pop/rock and experimental contemporary music in the majority of her professional career.

Surrounded by a musical family, music became a huge part of Ofelia's life from the very beginning. Singing and playing often took center stage when the family was together, and when she was eight, she started taking cello and piano lessons. When she was twelve, she was accepted at Barratt-Dues Musikkinstitutt, where she in addition to private lessons and orchestra rehearsals also had classes in music theory and aural training.

Already as a young girl, she started to play in bands and writing songs which she performed at numerous concerts, in addition to the classical concerts she played reguarly. One of the highlights growing up was in 2004, when she participated in Melodi Grand Prix jr. (Junior Eurovision Song Contest), with a self-written song together with Ida Margrete Rinde Sunde.
Since then, she has played in several bands, which has been her main occupation through her career.
In 2009, she was awarded Budstikkas Kulturstipend, a grant for young, promising talents in the culture field.

For some years, she studied contemporary classical music composition at the Norwegian Academy of Music, and before that, musicology at the University of Oslo. She has also been teaching music since an early age, both private individual lessons, children's choir/musical theatre and as a music teacher at a primary school.

Ofelia likes to mix and experiment with different genres, like traditional Norwegian folk music, pop, contemporary classical music and others, and also to experiment with the instruments themselves. Especially when playing cello, she is known for adding various amounts of effects to push the limits of what's possible in both live settings and in studio. As a pianist and vocalist she is also comfortable playing traditional classical music as well as pop music and experimental/improvisation. She is quite happy playing all three instruments almost at the same time.

When composing and arranging, she writes a lot of arrangements for her own bands as well as other bands/artists, with especially string and wind ensembles, in addition to writing her own music as a solo artist. She has also many years of experience writing, recording and producing music for musical theatre.
Amongst her original compositions you find pieces for sinfonietta, smaller ensembles in different constellations and solo pieces for piano, strings and winds. Like when she plays herself, she sometimes adds parts of live electronics and/or improvisation as well. Ofelia has also written a fair amount of compositions and arrangements for several types of vocal ensembles; like trios, quintets, octets and choirs.

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