Born: June 7, 1955
Jon Balke was born in Furnes, Norway, and has been a professional musician since 1974. Balke has no formal education in music or composition and has mainly worked within the realm of improvised music. His main instrument has been the piano and this has lead, in time, to the use of electronic keyboards.
He began composing for larger ensembles in 1982, first and foremost for Oslo 13, a 'small' big band, and has since composed works for the theatre and various chamber ensembles, in addition to big bands and jazz ensembles.
Balke's activities in music have always been two-fold. On the one hand, there is a search for maximum spontaneity through the establishing of orchestras which are increasingly based on pure improvisation; a development that has culminated in his very successful trio Jøkleba with Audun Kleive and Per Jørgensen (keys, percussion, and trumpet). On the other hand, there is a search for thoroughly composed chamber music, with an orchestral expression that goes beyond traditional forms, which can be heard in the recordings of Magnetic North Orchestra and Siwan, as well as in numerous works for contemporary ensembles. Balke also has developed a catalogue of songs, resulting from cooperation with singers like Radka Toneff, Sidsel Endresen, Trine Lise Væring, Emilie Christensen and Mattis Myrland.
Source: Music Information Center Norway
1984 Norwegian Jazzforbunds "Buddy" price
1993"Årets Jazzmusiker" FNJ musikerpris “OL-musiker” i forbindelse med vinter-OL 1994 1986-88
1999 “Jazzvisitor in Copenhagen”, Denmark
2000 The Edvard price from Tono and Norwegian Composers association
2003 Oslo City Culture Grant
2008 Rolf Gamleng price
2009 "Jahrespreis den deutchen schallplattenkritik” for Siwan
2012 Artist in residence at Molde int Jazzfestival
2014 Jazz visitor at Torino Jazz festival