- 1982 the Reenskog jazz Award
- 1992 the Vossajazz Award
- 1993 the NOPA Award for "The Work of the Year"
- 1994 the Grieg Prize
- 2003 the Statoil/Sildajazz Award
- 2009 the Buddy Award
- 2014 Rolf Gammleng-prisen
Dag Arnesen, pianist/composer, was born and raised in Bergen, a beautiful city located on the west coast of Norway. He started classical piano lessons when he was seven-years-old with Else Haadem Erstad, and at the age of sixteen appeared as a soloist with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, at De Unges Konsert (Young Talent’s Concert) playing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.1. He was educated at the Music Conservatory in Bergen where he studied classical piano with Jirij Hlinka.
However, as time passed, jazz became his main interest. Dag started his professional career as a musician at Bergen’s main theatre, Den Nationale Scene. Since the mid-seventies, he has led many jazz groups: trios, quartets, quintets, a sextet and a septet. He has also led larger constellations including a nine- and a thirteen-piece band. Almost all of the music performed by these groups was composed and arranged by Dag. He has often been commissioned to write music for big band, choirs and various ensembles and has composed music for three films.
He has released twelve CD/LPs as a leader and has been a sideman on many other recordings.
Arnesen has been a regular guest at the jazz festivals in Norway, where he has toured extensively. He has also toured throughout Europe, playing concerts and festivals, as well as performing in Japan, China, India, Vietnam, Argentina, New York and Canada.
Although Dag has lived in Bergen most of his life, he also resided in Oslo for ten years. During that time he got the opportunity to play with many of the best Norwegian musicians, including Knut and Odd Riisnæs, Jon Christensen, Karin Krog, Bjarne Nerem, Bjørn Kjellemyr, Laila Dalseth, Svein “Crico” Christiansen, Audun Kleive and Kåre Garnes, to name a few. He has also performed with Joe Henderson, Elvin Jones, Woody Shaw, Phil Woods, Philip Catherine, Carla Bley, John Surman, Paquito de Rivera, Maria Schneider, Jerry Bergonzi, Adam Nussbaum, Gustavo Bergalli, among many others.
Dag’s current projects includes: Dag Arnesen trio • Sigurd Ulveseth quartet • Wenche Gausdal quartet • Bergen Big Band.