The Norwegian pianist, Einar Steen-Nøkleberg, studied with Nicolai Dirdal and Hans Leygraf. He won prizes at the German Hochschulwettbewerb, the Norwegian Piano Competition in 1972.
Einar Steen-Nøkleberg is a leading Norwegian pianist, having made continuous international appearances. His international career has included repeated solo recitals in London, Paris, Berlin, Tokyo, Moscow, Mexico City, New York, Hamburg and Copenhagen. He toured the USA and the former Soviet Union several times. His solo repertoire includes selected works by Girolamo Frescobaldi, François Couperin and Rameau; works by J.S. Bach, J. Haydn, W.A. Mozart, L.v. Beethoven, Felix Mendelssohn, F. Schubert, R. Schumann, Johannes Brahms, F. Chopin, Franz Liszt, C. Debussy, M. Ravel, Béla Bartók, M. Mussorgsky, Paul Hindemith, M. de Falla, E. Grieg (complete piano works), H. Saeverud (complete piano works), H. Kjerulf (complete piano works); selected works by Arnold Schoenberg, Stockhausen and Ligeti; selected contemporary Norwegian Piano music by Nordheim, Strømholm, Nilsson, Hegdahl, Kvam, Egge and Fongaard.
Concerto appearances include the London Symphony Orchestra, Warsaw Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra, Copenhagen Royal Chapel, China Philharmonic in Beijing, Yumiori Philharmonic Orchestra and the NHK in Tokyo and Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra and Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra in Norway. His concero repertoire includes works by J.S. Bach, W.A. Mozart, J. Haydn, L.v. Beethoven, C.M.V. Weber, F. Mendelssohn, R. Schumann, J. Brahms, P. Tchaikovsky, F. Liszt, E. Grieg, F. Chopin, Camille Saint-Saëns, C. Franck, M. Ravel, Sergei Rachmaninov, Dmitri Shostakovich, L. Janacek, B. Bartók, Igor Stravinsky, M. de Falla, T. Tellefsen.
Einar Steen-Nøkleberg has performed the entire repertoire for violin and piano, including all sonatas by J.S. Bach, Mozart, L.v. Beethoven, Schubert, J. Brahms, Schumann and Grieg, with numerous recordings (i.e. Franck, Janacek, George Enescu, Grieg and Ferruccio Busoni Sonatas). He has also performed the entire repertoire for cello and piano with many recordings(i.e. all L.v. Beethoven Sonatas and Variations, J. Brahms 2 Sonatas, Felix Mendelssohn Sonatas and Variations, S. Rachmaninov, Pfitzner, Grieg, L.v. Beethoven, Martinu and Samuel Barber Sonatas). As an accompanist for singers, he has performed all major cycles for male and female voices. Among his chamber music partners is the Russian cellist Alexander Zagorinsky.
Einar Steen-Nøkleberg has had an extensive teaching career since 1970. From 1975 to 1981 Einar Steen-Nøkleberg was Professor of Piano at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik in Hannover, Germany, an appointment which made him Germany's youngest professor. Later he taught in Hannover, later in Oslo, and again in Hannover since 1994. He gives regular master-classes at Mozarteum, Salzburg and in Paris at Institut Cortôt École Normale, as well as courses in Japan, China, USA, Mexico, Brasil, Russia and Scandinavia. In addition, he has judged piano competitions such as Busoni(Bolzano), Monza and Trani in Italy, the Bachauer(Salt Lake City), Cleveland, William Kapell and Palm Beach in the USA as well as various competitions throughout Europe, including the Schumann Competition in Düsseldorf, Epinal, Bremen, Nyborg and EBU (European Broadcast Union), Lisbon. He is the founder and president of the Norwegian section of the EPTA (European Piano Teachers Association) and the Oslo Grieg Society, the Grieg Memorial Composers Competitions (held annually since 1994) and the Concours Grieg for pianists in Oslo, Norway (held annually since 2000). Among his students are Erling R. Eriksen, Mikael Holmlund, and Joachim Kwetzinsky.
Einar Steen-Nøkleberg has released more than 50 recordings. His recording of the Grieg Concerto with the London Symphony Orchestra was chosen by the BBC Saturday Review as the best version of this much-recorded concerto. He received the Norwegian Recording of the Year in 1976 for a recital of Norwegian Baroque Composers. His recently released monumental recording of all Grieg's piano music, a 14 CD set, for Naxos Records is recieving international acclaim. He is currently publishing H. Kjerulf piano works (3 CD's) on Simax, and H. Saeverud piano works (5 CD's) on Naxos.
He wrote Onstage with Grieg, A study in interpretation of Griegs piano works (Solum Forlag, Oslo). He is editor and co-editor of Grieg’s Piano Music on Gustav Henle Verlag, Münich. (Grieg: Sonata, Ballade, Holberg Suite, 17 Peasant Dances Op. 72, Lyric pieces Op. 12, 38, 43, 54 and 65; in preparation: Piano Concerto and Sonata for violin and piano Op 45) and of Norwegian Baroque Music (Wernicke) and Grieg Piano Concerto (faximile) on Universitesforlaget, Olso.
Among other prizes and distinctions, some of the most important are the Norwegian Critics' Prize for Best Performance in 1975 (for the interpretation in Grieg's Piano Concerto at the Bergen Festival), the Lindeman Prize ("Performer of the Year") 1984, the Grieg Prize in 1985 (Bergen) and 1992 (Oslo). He is a Knight of the St. Olav Order, appointed by the King of Norway for his activities for Norwegian music in general.