Norwegian conductor Bjarte Engeset is not a household name outside Scandinavia, but he has been responsible for a large number of top-notch recordings of new and neglected music from the Nordic countries. He is the chief conductor of Sweden's Dala Sinfonietta.
Engeset was born August 25, 1958, in Ørsta, Norway. His mother was a pianist and singer, and there was always music around the house; the young Engeset took up guitar, recorder, and flute. His imagination in larger musical forms was stimulated when he heard a performance of Verdi's Requiem when he was young. Engeset's musical education had both Scandinavian and American aspects: he attended the University of Georgia and in 1991 attended the Tanglewood Music Center seminar in conducting, studying with Seiji Ozawa, Simon Rattle, Marek Janowski, and others. Back in Scandinavia he earned a diploma (with the highest possible score) from the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, a reliable generator of orchestral musicians and conductors. His primary teacher there was Jorma Panula.