AUGUSTÍN LUNA GUITAR
By using his imagination and a simple electronic device to record and play back loops as he performs, saxophonist Håkon Kornstad realizes in concert the idea so aptly expressed by the title of his newest album: "Symphonies in My Head". His instrumental technique is traditionally solid: a beautiful tone on whichever saxophone or wind instrument he selects, extended by the use of the instrument’s keys to make percussion sounds, and broadened by a colorful palette of overtones. Rhapsodic, improvised melodies glide and float over sonic layers that grow into an orchestral accompaniment. Kornstad’s restless curiosity has taken him into new, unexpected territory — he’s pursued study as an operatic tenor and began integrating this new expression of lyricism into his solo performances, giving unprecedented meaning to the description jazz “tenor.”
"Over the last decade saxophonist Håkon Kornstad has emerged as one of Norway's most original and daring musicians."
PETER MARGASAK, DOWNBEAT MAGAZINE
“... he manages to turn his improvisations into small symphonies, arresting in their structure and deep emotional impact.”
EYAL HAREUVENI, ALL ABOUT JAZZ
"Amidst a nation of musicians who fearlessly and seamlessly find ways to marry music and technology on the most human of terms, Håkon Kornstad still stands alone."
JOHN KELMAN, ALL ABOUT JAZZ
"The Norwegian saxophonist Håkon Kornstad has a deeply focused tone and a dazzling command of expressive effects."
NATE CHINEN, THE NEW YORK TIMES
Kornstad sings beautifully, with a clear and open sound. It is remarkable that he should have achieved this level of vocal proficiency in less than five years. (...) Kornstad is on a journey that will take him who-knows-where. But I would not be surprised if Kornstad further insinuates himself in the world of opera and classical music, eventually throwing himself all in. Apparently, he's got the goods.
ADAM PARKER, POST AND COURIER (CHARLESTON, SC)
By all rights, no one person should possess as many musical talents at Håkon Kornstad. It isn’t fair to artists who devote their entire lives to a single instrument to see Kornstad picking up instruments and setting them down, producing tones and ideas that aren’t half-baked, but fully formed. Surely a few artists in the audience left the room either stewing with envy or brimming with inspiration. Masterfully trained in all of his disparate disciplines, Kornstad treated each element of his show with utter seriousness — and yet the result didn’t seem like a struggle, but a joy.
PAUL BOWERS, CHARLESTON CITY PAPER, USA
JAZZ VS. OPERA - A TENOR BATTLE. TED TALK BY KORNSTAD (2012)