A Molderose has left us
Bjørn Stendahl has passed away
Bjørn Stendahl's large warm heart failed on January 13, three days after he turned 82. Since the mid-1960s, Bjørn had been a regular guest at Moldejazz with various roles.
He grew up in Stokke in Vestfold, completed his high school education in Tønsberg, and moved to Oslo where he trained as an architect and established Munkedammen Architect Office. His interest in jazz arose early, and already at the age of fifteen, he wrote well-founded articles for the jazz column in the magazine "Verdensrevyen." He quickly became central to both local and national jazz organizations, serving as the president of the Norwegian Jazz Federation, editor of Jazznytt, initiator of the long-standing jazz club Amalienborg Jazzhus (Malla), and was himself a proficient drummer, concert organizer, and much more. His significant life's work consists of five books on Norwegian jazz from 1920 to 1980, several thousand pages of facts and stories about the development of the music form in this country. When Bjørn became a state scholar in 2006, he had more time to deepen his historical interests, becoming a repository of knowledge in multiple areas.
He first came to Molde as a journalist, writing about the festival for several newspapers and magazines over the years. Bjørn also played a pivotal role in establishing the Festival Academy, a daily event throughout the festival week where, for many years, he served as the program host, presenting and interviewing musicians and other jazz figures. The Festival Academy continues and has inspired other festivals to similar activities. In 1980, he was awarded the Molderosen for his efforts.
During last year's Moldejazz, Bjørn was as usual present, going from concert to concert and ending his stay by participating in a jam session at the old Cultural Center, where he played with young musicians who could have been his grandchildren. It turned out to be his last Molde Festival. The cityscape will miss his cheerful, relaxed personality. Those of us who knew him as a friend will experience a gap in existence. Today, our thoughts go to his closest family who have lost their solid focal point.
Petter Pettersson – for Moldejazz 14/1-2024