Havard Gimse is best known for his interpretations of piano works by Sibelius and Grieg. His discography is heavily weighted toward that pair: Gimse has done the entire Sibelius solo output on five CDs and has recorded numerous discs of Grieg's works, including the A minor Concerto and various solo and chamber pieces. Not surprisingly, Grieg isn't the only Norwegian in Gimse's repertory: he has played works by such relatively obscure composers as Geirr Tveitt (much of the solo output and several concertos), Klaus Egge, Ole Bull, Sverre Bergh, Alf Hurum, and others. But Gimse can hardly be called a specialist as his repertory takes in works by Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann, Chopin, Fauré, Bartók, Prokofiev, Shostakovich, and many others. He has toured throughout Scandinavia, Western and Central Europe, the U.K., the Americas, and Japan, and has performed at such prestigious venues as Carnegie Hall, London's Wigmore Hall, and the Amsterdam Concertgebouw. Gimse has made over 30 recordings, available from Naxos, Simax, and other major labels.
Havard Gimse was born in Kongsvinger, Norway, on September 15, 1966. He began piano lessons at age six and had later studies at the Norwegian State Music Academy. In 1987 he won first prize at the Jugend Musiziert Competition in Frankfurt. Gimse gave his American debut in 1994 with the Riverside Symphony Orchestra at Alice Tully Hall in a highly praised performance of Prokofiev's difficult Fifth Concerto. Meanwhile, Gimse was studying for an advanced degree at the Berlin Hochschule der Künste, earning it in 1995, the same year Naxos issued his first solo recording, a disc of Grieg works that included the Op. 7 Sonata.
Gimse's career was soon in orbit, aided by a series of prestigious citations: the Steinway Prize (1995), Grieg Prize (1996), and Sibelius Prize (2004). From 1997, he has served every August as assistant program manager at the Oslo Chamber Music Festival where he also performs. 1997 was also the year Gimse began recording the Sibelius solo output for Naxos, who issued the series from 1999-2004.
Gimse also gained positive notice in the chamber realm: in May 2005 he made a highly successful tour of Japan with violinist Arve Tellefsen and cellist Jan-Erik Gustafsson. In November that same year Gimse appeared in a series of acclaimed concerts with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in performances of the Grieg concerto. Among Gimse's more distinguished recordings is his 2011 Naim Audio CD of works by Schumann and Schubert.