A native of Norway, Espen Jensen moved to the US in 1998 and earned a master’s, diploma, and doctorate degrees in guitar performance from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.
From 2005 to 2013, Espen co-directed the Latin American Popular Music Ensemble at the Jacobs School. This period included variety of performances with guest artists such as Pablo Ziegler, Jorge Gomez, Adam del Monte, Gonzolo Grau,, Nuccio D’Angelo and others. As part of the LAPME, he also started a regular guitar ensemble, which later was included as a permanent feature of the curriculum.
Espen is also active as a composer. His compositions include many solo guitar pieces and also many chamber pieces for rare instrumental combinations such as his 2015 piece “Seconds” for guitar and bassoon and his 2017 piece “Wicked Skyline Rhapsody” for soprano saxophone, cello, and guitar. Both pieces have received acclaim during the yearly tours of the Norwegian contemporary chamber group “Agder Camerata.” As a performer, he has also championed new music for the guitar and has premiered solo and chamber compositions by Egil Kapstad, Kjell Marcussen, Vidar Kristensen, Hans-Magne Græsvold, John Supko, Justin Merritt, Eddie Bass, and others.
Espen’s doctoral studies focused on music of Haiti, particularly the Haitian genre of méringue. His work illuminated Haitian music as an important incubator of many of the musical characteristics found throughout the Caribbean. In the process, he transcribed and arranged a large number of Haitian songs and compositions for solo guitar as well as for chamber ensembles. In 2019, he received the Individual Advancement Grant from the Indiana Arts Commission, making it possible to record a selection of his arrangement of Haitian music. This lead to the 2020 release of “Choucoune-Music of Haiti” with solo arrangement of music of Haiti. “Choucoune” is Espen’s third solo album, alongside “Nocturnal Varations” and “Elogio de la danza y la canción,” both re-mastered and re-issued in 2020.
Espen currently enjoys a multipronged musical life as a performer, composer, and arranger. He also leads student recruitment for the world renowned Indiana University Jacobs School of Music where he serves as Director of Admissions and Financial Aid.