Jon Balke is a norwegian composer, pianist, orchestra leader and percussionist, who has been developing his own unique projects after coming out of the groups of Arild Andersen and Radka Toneff in the end of the 1970´s.
His compositional work extended in various trios and quartets during the 1970´s and 80´s, as well as in the afro-fusion group Eólén. Balke acquired a taste for composing for larger groups, and joined the collective Oslo 13 to start writing for winds and brass. Around the same time, at the start of the 1980´s he also joined Masqualero a legendary quintet with Arild Andersen,Jon Christensen, Nils Petter Molvær and Tore Brunborg.
At the end of the 80 ´s Balke left these groups to start founding two projects,one compositional : The Magnetic North Orchestra and one free improvising unit: the trio Jøkleba.
At the start of the 2000´s Balke founded the Batagraf group as a research unit for rhythm and language. In 2007 he was commissioned to write a celebratory work for Cosmopolite, a world music stage in Norway. The project Siwan was thus born and is in these days going into its version #2 with a new CD and upcoming tour. In parallel Balke has been developing a solo piano concept under the title Warp , where the piano is placed in an electroacoustic environment , a kind of virtual architecture around the acoustic sound.
Balke has also been an active creator of stage music for dance and theatre , as well as composing for chamber groups and jazz orcestras around in Europe. Most of Balkes music is released on ECM, with a few titles on other norwegian labels, available through Gube Music.
Magnetic Music is the production company of Jon Balke and is supported by the Norwegian Art Council