Sunleif Rasmussen has written orchestral works, solo
concertos, chamber music, solo pieces, electroacoustic works for tape and for
live electronics as well as a great deal of choral music. His scoring and ideas
are often untraditional and taking into account he venue where the music will
be performed, sometimes defining the placement of orchestra musicians between
the audience, or a work of a concert being preceded by excerpts scored for a
few musicians playing it in the foyer before the concert. His music has been
performed by ensembles throughout the world in New York, Berlin, London, and
In 2004 he was visiting composer at the Korsholm Festival in
Finland, where his violin concerto Songs of Seasons was premiered by Ostrobothnian
Chamber Orchestra and John Storgårds, 2006 the preimiere of his Opera The
Madmans Garden took place in Torshavn, and has since been followed by
performances in Tallin, Estonia 2008 and Arts Festival in Reykjavik 2009. In
2009 he was commissioned to write a work for the capital Torshavns 100 Years
Anniversary, resulting in a large scale Cantata combining many elements of
Faroese music life such as choir, classical and rhytmic musicians as well as the
traditional Faroese chain dance.
In recent years he has had two recidencies: in 2008-2009 at
Sønderjyllands Symfoniorkester, Denmark for whom he composed Prelude to an
Orchestra and a recorder concerto Territorial Songs premiered with Michala
Petri as soloist; 2009-10 at Danish vocal ensemble Ars Nova 30. oktober 2013and Paul Hillier who premiered
Gylfaginning for choir, narrator and effect processor, leading to a new
commission for Paul Hilliers ensemble "Theatre of Voices" for choir
and string quartet.
Sunleif Rasmussen is founder and director of one of the
numerous choirs in the Faroe Islands "Tarira", and furthermore a keen
teacher, emphasizing the importance of music education amongst coming
generations in the Faroe Islands.
In 1992 he received grants from the Leonnie Sonning
Foundation as well as from the Danish Composer’s Society. In 1997 he was
awarded a three-year grant from Danish State Arts Foundation, and in 2002 the
prestigious Nordic Council’s Music Prize.