Akre Ottar Edvardsen ( 1896 - 1992 )

Ottar E. Akre was born in Ytre Rendal, Norway, May 19th 1896 as the son of a tailor, Edward Akre and his wife Oline Haagensdatter. At the age of eight he got his first accordeon.

As Akre was 14 years old, in 1910, he started studying the accordeon under Johan Elsmo in Jomna. He taught himself to read music and to play several instruments. In the meantime he toured with Elsmo and this gave him the opportunity to play a concert at an award ceremony in Kristiania (Oslo) where also the royal couple was present.

His gramophone career started in 1919 with recordings of the Gramophon Company. At the same time Akre was engaged  at Circus Norbech as an electrician. Yet Akre wanted to reach more in life and he started studying electrical engineering, lessons which he would continue in the United States, where he stayed from 1922 till 1928.
In the United States Akre started studying at the Wilberg School of Music and sometimes at the Music Conservatory in Fargo, North Dacota (1927). He also went on making records of his work, this time for Victor and Columbia. Once back in Norway he would make records for Columbia till the 60's.

After returning to Norway in 1928, Ottar Akre was employed in Carl M. Wersen Music Shop, but at the same time he was a performer and he was the teacher for what eventually became Norways finest musicians. In 1927 and 1930 he wrote books on how to play the accordeon: Akre's Accordeon School Part 1 and 2. From 1940 till 1946 he was a teacher at the Conservatory in Oslo.
In the 1930's Akre founded the Akres Trio with Akre on the accordeon, Oskar Skau on the guitar and Eugen Martinsen on the violin. Later Martinsen was replaced by Amund Friestad. The trio became a popular and loved orchestra, with regular broadcast on the radio. Later the trio expanded to Akre's Quintet. From 1945 Akre led the Oslo Accordion Club's Orchestra for 30 years. 

As a composer Akre put strong traces. He wrote more than 100 compositions and recieved many awards for his works, including the King's Medal of Merit in 1972. 
Akre remained expressively active until he was over 90 years of age. As he was a warm and humorous person with a very high level of musical talent he was a popular guest at concerts, matches and festivals.

It is not an exaggeration to say that Akre was the person who had the greatest impact on the development of accordeon music in Norway.

Acre died in Oslo 29th of October 1992.
Works for accordeon:

St Hansvalsen
Life im Himsedal
The surrounding waltz
Fagerborg rheinlender
Fox caprice
Schottis Akrobatik
Norsk fantasy
Julehilsen (Christmas greetings)

Back to previous page