Emil Karlsen was born near the small town Gjøvik located in Norway. His passion for music was discovered at an early stage resulting in him playing both the piano and drums, with drums as his main instrument.  Through his teens he started performing regularly and grew to be a popular drummer on the local jazz scene playing everything from small clubs to various festivals. He then moved to Leeds (UK) to study at the renowned Leeds College of Music taking part in the vibrant music scene, especially the improvised music scene where he is currently establishing himself as an original voice. His musical philosophy highlights dynamics, timbre and textures, all done with an organic mindset. His work as improviser/composer consists of doing both acoustic and electro-acoustic solo performances, working in ensembles spanning from duos to octets and beyond, working with graphic scores with an interest for audio visuals using both digital and analog medias, all done with a focus on creating boundary-pushing music.


"Emil Karlsen is an independently minded drummer whose playing balances organic looseness with a dynamic, propulsive energy"

- Paul Hession (UK)

“Emil is a wonderful young drummer/percussionist who plays with power,delicacy and originality”

- Mark Sanders (UK)

From solo performance at blank canvas, Liverpool.

From solo performance at blank canvas, Liverpool.