John Zorn - Artist in Residence 2020!

For 40 years John Zorn has been among the most creative and influential musicians in jazz. The famous sax player and composer has directed, influenced and organized a series of remarkable ensembles with some of the most original musicians in the genre. Now he is our next Artist in Residence at Moldejazz 2020, the year which also marks the festival’s 60th jubilee of continuous operation.

Zorn visited Moldejazz for the first time in 1991 with the band Naked City, and the concert they played for a delighted audience confirmed that he took music to completely new places.

In later years, Zorn has continuously confirmed his position as a creative force in our time through numerous concerts, evermore innovative ensembles, an array of highly noticeable compositions alongside operating a record label and various artistic scenes.


The details of Zorn's residency at Moldejazz are still under development. It is, however, certain that he will be presenting his gigantic project “Bagatelles Marathon” in which 30–50 musicians in different constellations freely interpret Zorn’s compositions. In the repository of leading personalities of contemporary jazz that we find in these ensembles, are people like Tyshawn Sorey, Craig Taborn, Dave Douglas, Kris Davis, Mary Halvorson, Marc Ribot, Julian Lage, Peter Evans and many others. Many of these will be in concert in Molde. Moldejazz is considering having “Bagatelles Marathon” perform continuously and without breaks across an entire evening and multiple stages at the cultural venue “Plassen”.

In addition to Bagatelles, John Zorn will be performing with several of his band constellations. He is well versed in the Norwegian music scene and might be curating a session with Norwegian musicians and bands.

With John Zorn as Artist in Residence 2020, Moldejazz confirms its position among the most important jazz festivals in Europe.

John Zorn – A short biography

John Zorn was born and raised in New York City. Since the mid-70s he has been a central player on the experimental jazz scene in downtown New York, alongside people like John Lurie, Christian Marclay, Marc Ribot, Airto Lindsay and more. “The Big Gundown” from 1985 marked a breakthrough on the record side with Zorn playing modern jazz arrangements of Morricone spaghetti-western classics. After that, he collaborated with blues musicians Albert Collins, Airto Lindsay and the Kronos Quartet on the film noir soundtrack “Spillane”. He then produced “News for Lulu” with among others Bill Frisell; an album that continues to be a favourite album for many hardcore jazz fans. In the following years there has been no break in Zorn’s extensive collaborations with people from diverse genres; from punk to metal, hardcore trash, surf, country and more; as well as experimental jazz with appearances of traditional building stones.

In 1995 Zorn established the record label Tzadik and embarked on a series of striking projects of a character that established him as one of the most productive composers in the world. The compositions vary in expressions; from modern jazz to chamber music and traditional Jewish music.