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Jan Gunnar Hoff was born in Bodø, Northern Norway 1958. He started playing classical piano at the age of 10 and later got an interest in progrock, popular music and jazz. In 1977 he performed with a local trio feat drummer Jon Christensen at the Ad Lib Jazz club in Bodø. Hoff became a professional musician in 1979 and worked extensively as a session musician in Bodø, Bergen, Trondheim and Oslo. He was educated at NTNU “Jazzlinja” in Trondheim 1986-89 and studied arranging and composing at NMH, Oslo 2001-2002. In 1987 Hoff participated in an all star Norwegian combo presenting Jan Garbarek’s commission for the Federation of Norwegian Jazz musicians, FNJ. In 1989 he was engaged as a regional musician for a 2 year position in Northern Norway with Terje Venaas (bass) and Finn Sletten (drums).

Jan Gunnar Hoff´s debut CD Syklus was recorded in 1992. The music was based on Hoff´s commission for the Arts Festival of North Norway, performed at a concert at the Harstad festival 1992.  Since 1993 Hoff has worked as a bandleader presenting original compositions in a band consisting of some of Scandinavias leading musicians: Audun Kleive, Bjørn Kjellemyr, Tore Brunborg, Knut Riisnæs, Per Jørgensen. Albums: Moving (1995), Crosslands (1998), In town (2003). In 2007 Hoff released an album with his Edvard Prize (award) – winning jazz mass Meditatus, with Bodø cathedral choir and JGH group. Other important band events include Hoff´s highly acclaimed Vossajazz-debut in 1995, Oris London Jazzfestival and Molde Int. Jazzfestival 1996 with EBU-TV broadcast to 12 European countries. At Moldejazz 2001 Hoff and his group did a successful collaboration with Pat Metheny. (excerpt “Extraditon” -as recorded by NRK).

Hoff and his group toured Norway, Estonia and Ukraine with Mike Stern in 2006, 2007 and 2008 and this collaboration is still active. The first Stern/Hoff -album Magma was released in 2008. Hoff has also been working with percussionist Alex Acuna and bassplayer Per Mathisen in the trio Acuna/Hoff/ Mathisen. February 2010 Acuna, Hoff & Mathisen recorded a concert DVD at Drumchannel in Oxnard, California. The AHM-trio has performed in Sweden, USA, Croatia and Peru, and released two albums:  Jungle City and Barxeta. Mathisen and Hoff has continued their collaboration in projects involving drummers Horacio Hernandez, Gary Novak.





Hoff has composed 250 works for different settings:  chamber orchestra, sinfonietta, choir, duo, trio, in addition to compositions for his solo recordings. Hoff did the prestigous annual commission for Vossajazz 2005 Free flow songs and received an Edvard (Grieg) -prize for his jazzmazz Meditatus in 2006. Meditatus has been performed in Norway, Iceland, Canada, USA and recorded on CD in Norway and CD/DVD in Riga, Latvia. In 2009 Hoff gathered a star line up at the annual Nordland Music Festival: Alex Acuna, Per Mathisen, Frode Alnæs, Jarle Bernhoft and Mathias Eick,  presenting Hoff´s commission Electric Blue.  (Photo: Leif Inge Larssen, NRK)

Several duo constallations a.o with Maria Joao in Norway, Croatia and France 2008. Other collaborations include Norwegian artists like Unni Wilhelmsen, Terje Nilsen, Jan Eggum, Halvdan Sivertsen, Jørn Hoel. Worth mentioning is also the Harstad festival in Northern Norway 1995 where Hoff did a spontanous duo session with Chick Corea.







From 2008-2014 Hoff has performed and toured in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Croatia, Iceland, Austria, Italy, Sweden, USA, Slovakia, Kazakhstan, Kirgisistan, Peru, England, Japan and Norway. Concerts in major cities such as New York, London, Stockholm, Zagreb, Los Angeles, Moscow, St.Petersburg, Tokyo, Istanbul, Vilnius.


In 2011 Hoff contributed as bandleader, arranger and pianist for the album Quiet winter night, later nominated for US Grammy Awards 2013 (Best surround sound album, Morten Lindberg, 2L). Hoff continued his collaboration with 2L on the solo piano album LIVING, released April 2013. Hoffs quartet-recording Fly North was released in January 2014, followed by the solo album Quiet light/Stille lys (2L December 2014). In January 2014 Hoff received the Buddy prize, the highest distinction in Norwegian jazz. May 2014 he was appointed as an official Steinway Artist and August 2014 he was Artist in residence at Ingmar Bergman Estate, Fårö (Sweden). As a composer Hoff wrote and premiered his choir work Terra Nova in 2014, receiving great reviews. This compositions was partly written on the island of Fårö, in the house of Ingmar Bergman, inspired by the view of the gigantic Baltic Sea. Excerpt of Terra Nova performed by the Bodø cathedral youth choir.

In 2014, 2015 and 2016 Hoff performed solo in Japan and  released two more albums: Stories, a solo piano album for 2L and Terra Nova,(Lawo 2017), a duo project with mezzo soprano Marianne Beate Kielland. Compositions by Hoff, text by Hoff and also poems by Knut Hamsun.

April 2018 Hoff´s trio album Polarity was released by 2L, receiving great reviews. In 2018, Hoff also released the albums: Mathisen/Hoff feat. Horacio Hernandez  Barxeta II, and Jan Gunnar Hoff Group feat. Mike Stern. Continuing Hoff´s cooperation with bassplayer Per Mathisen, a new trio album feat US drummer Gary Novak was recorded late 2019. In 2020 Hoff has released several scores and books, a.o:  Fly North – 52 Jazz compositions. He also did a commission for Helgeland sinfonietta, composing his work Vaapstenjeanoe (Big River), for string orchestra, jazz trio and soloist Arve Henriksen. A piano version of the main theme was presented in Steinway & Sons 2020- series: Lunch concerts.

Jan Gunnar Hoff works as a professor at the University of Tromsø and Agder. He has also been involved in several jazz festivals as a head and artistic leader, a.o. Bodø Jazz Open (2011-2020), a festival initiated by Hoff in 2010.

In November 2020, Jan Gunnar Hoff performed 2 solo concerts at the Oslo Opera, an event that marks a highlight in his career as a solo pianist. In addition to his own projects and solo concerts, Hoff is also performing frequently in Germany with Carsten Lindholm trio (Lindholm, Reggie Washington, JGH), and with Per Mathisen and related projects.

In 2021 Hoff released the album Gladiator with Per Mathisen and US drummer Gary Novak. He also published his book Quiet light (Stille Lys), a collection of piano arrangements of popular songs and Christmas melodies. In May 2022 Hoff released his solo piano album, HOME on the Norwegian label 2L, recorded and produced by 2021 US-Grammy winner Morten Lindberg. In 2023 Hoff has performed in Romania (Garana, Cluj), Germany , Corsica, Estonia, both solo and with the trio “Hoff Somsen Lindholm” and with Gary Husband, Per Mathisen and Nguyen Le.

Compositions (excerpt):

  1. THE FOREST, commission for symphony orchestra, NASOL 2023
  2. VAAPSTENJEANOE (Big River), commission for string orchestra, percussion and jazz trio, 2020
  3. New jazz compositions for album with Gary Novak, Per Mathisen, 2019
  4. Compositions for new album with Jan Gunnar Hoff Group & Mike Stern, 2018
  5. Commission for Marianne Beate Kielland 2016, texts by Hamsun, W.Blake and Hoff
  6. TERRA NOVA – work for SATB and jazz group
  7. HAMMARS SUITE – work for string orchestra and jazz trio
  8. LIVING – commission for Bodø Jazz Open 2012 w/Jormin, Henriksen, Mazur
  9. NORTH EAST/NORTH WEST, commission Smeltedigelen 2012 (Mo i Rana, Northern Norway)
  10. PICTURES -commission Nordland Musikkfestuke 2011
  11. ELECTRIC BLUEELECTRIC BLUE– commission Nordland Musikkfestuke 2009
  12. FOR INGENS ØYNE, commission Hamsundagene 2009
  13. AUBERGINE – commission Bodø Big Band 2007
  14. MAGMA for Nordland Musikkfestuke 2006 (feat. Mike Stern)
  15. FREE FLOW SONGS – Tingingsverket for Vossajazz 2005 (feat. Maria Joao)
  16. MEDITATUS a commission for Bodø Cathedral Choir 2004 (Edvard prize from TONO 2004)
  17. BLÅ SITRON –  Piece for string quartet and jazz trio 2002
  18. ODEON’S DRØM – Bodø sinfonietta 2002
  19. WIND SEA AND RHYTHM – wind quintet, cello and jazz band 2001
  20. THIS PLACE – commission for Bodø Domkor, orchestra, soloists 1996
  21. STILLE LYS – commission for Bodø Domkor 1995
  22. OPP AV HAVET STIG EIT LAND –  for Nordland Chamber Orchestra 1994
  23. FASER 1-4 suite i 4 movements for jazztrio and percussion, Arts Festival Harstad 1992
  24. NORTHERN LIGHTS –  for piano, violin and acoustic bass 1992

Discography with other artists:

  1. City Z (2018) Jan Gunnar Hoff Group feat Mike Stern 4:23
  2. Some Day (2018) Jan Gunnar Hoff Group feat Mike Stern 6:33
  3. Common Ground (2018) Jan Gunnar Hoff Group feat Mike Stern 7:39
  4. Living (Losen records 2014) Hoff, Mazur, Henriksen, Jormin 6:54
  5. FLY NORTH (Losen 2013) Hoff - Jormin - Mazur - Henriksen
  6. Beginning Hoff Ensemble: Jan Gunnar Hoff, Audun Kleive & Anders Jormin 3:14