Born in Norway into a musical family, George Keller has spent most of his life in music. Long before he could read or write, he could read music. He began his musical training on the violin at age four, piano and guitar at age six, and composed his first songs at the tender age of eight.
In his early teens, George played with a number of local rock bands, while at the same time pursuing his great passion for chamber music and playing the violin with various trios and quartets.
Shortly after completing his studies at the Conservatory of Music in Trondheim, George landed a recording deal with CBS Records (Sony), and his highly acclaimed debut album Just Like Standing Up was released in 1973.
The following year (1974), his second album Colors was released, and went straight into the European Chart of bestselling albums. Two years later, his third album Let’s move together was recorded and released worldwide by the New York label Private Stock Records.
While pursuing his own busy solo career, George began writing and producing songs for other artists. Soon he became one of the most in-demand songwriters, session-musicians, and producers in the industry, working with Norwegian and Swedish major artists such as Bjorn Skifs, Jahn Teigen, Ole Paus, Tommy Körberg, Trond Viggo Torgersen, Anita Skorgan, Trond Granlund, Anita Hegerland, Lava, Danne Stråhed, and many more. Both Anita Skorgan and Trond Granlund received the Norwegian Grammy Award for albums produced by George Keller. On several occasions he had two to three songs in the top 10 charts at the same time.
While still writing songs and producing pop/rock, he also began arranging for symphonic orchestra, and soon, he was composing for full orchestra and writing scores for television.
George also worked as A&R Manager and in-house producer for a number of Norwegian record companies, including CBS (Sony) and Euronet Records.
Unaware at this time that film music would come to have a significant role in his later career, George composed music and songs for three Norwegian feature films. One of these, Heksene fra den Forstenede Skog (The Witches from the Petrified Forest, 1975), was a remarkable and unusual film, directed by the radical director/producer Bredo Greve. The film did not go down very well in Norway’s deeply religious society, and was banned in some parts of the country. But the producer was unfazed: he simply set up a projector outside of the cinema and showed the film on the outside wall of the building at night!
One partnership, that has meant a lot to George, was the one formed with the Norwegian entertainer, actor and all-round performer Trond Viggo Torgersen in 1978, when George was given the task of composing the music for a number of Torgersen’s TV shows and series. The following year they released the album Bare barn er barn (Only children are children), and two years later, Det by’ner nå (It all starts now). These two albums are still considered among the most important milestones in music for children in Norway. They broke all previous sales records for children albums, and George and Trond Viggo received the prestigious Norwegian Grammy Award “Spellemannsprisen” for Best Children album in 1981. Several of these songs went on to top the Norwegian charts, and many of them are now standards in Norwegian songbooks used in schools, and cover versions by other artists are still being produced to this day.
20 years later (1998), Trond Viggo and George were invited to write a musical based on their old hits. The musical Hjalmar & Flode opened in 1999 at Oslo Nye Teater, and became a huge success. Since then, the musical have been put on again and again by the biggest theatres in Norway, and for the first time in history, the main titlesong Tænke Sjæl (Think for Yourself), shot to the top of the charts again – more than 20 years after making it to number one for the first time!
In 1984 George released his forth and last solo-album Resten kan du tenke deg (You Can Guess the Rest).
In 1985 George moved to Denmark to manage the local A&R department of EMI Records for three years. Here he soon became in-house producer, producing the critically acclaimed Chic-o-Chac album and Blast’s bestselling Fan album, to name but two.
In the late eighties, George was hired by film producer Steen Herdel to compose music for several commercials and documentaries, and was introduced to a number of film directors with whom he would later come to collaborate closely with.
One of these was Peter Ringgaard, who was, apart from being a much-respected writer/director, also responsible for producing the majority of Danish TV3’s talk shows, news broadcasts and documentaries, and very soon, almost all of these featuring music by George.
George’s breakthrough as a film composer was on a Peter Ringgaard film, the award winning A Scent of Paradise (Et Hjørne af Paradis, 1996), starring Penelopé Cruz, John Savage and Miguel Sandoval.
Unlike other scores, most of the themes were composed based on the script, before they’d even started filming.
Peter Ringgaard says: /“Before shooting ”A Scent of Paradise”, George composed a score, which we all used as inspiration before starting the working day. The score was an incredibly inspiration for myself and for the actors during the whole period of shooting in Mexico and Costa Rica, and Both director Ridley Scott and Luc Besson emphasized that the music was both stunning, poetic and as good as any score coming out of a Hollywood studio or anywhere else in the world for that matter”/.
George and Peter Ringgaard would later collaborate on the comedy/drama Better Off Dad (Til Højre ved den Gule Hund, 2003), and recently they joined forces again on the Middle Eastern feature film Gilgamesh (2010), and a number of documentaries and shorts for the National Charter Monument in the Kingdom of Bahrain.
After completing A Scent of Paradise, George scored the Swedish comedy Reine & Mimmi i fjällen (Reine & Mimmi in the Mountains, 1997), directed by Magnus Skogsberg, followed by the highly acclaimed horror-comedy Mothers In Arms (Mor(d) i Mødregruppen, 1998), directed by Peter Gren Larsen. Later the same year, Gren Larsen hired George to co-compose, arrange and produce Henrik Balling’s score for Baby Doom (1998).
In 1999 George was hired to score his first action film, In China they eat Dogs, directed by Lasse Spang Olsen. It became one of the best selling films of 1999, won a number of awards, and was released all over the world. Today, more than 10 years later, the film is still in the top rank of rental charts. This marked the beginning of a long collaboration between Lasse Spang Olsen and George Keller. So far, Lasse and George have completed 6 feature films and 5 documentaries;
In China they eat Dogs (I Kina Spiser de Hunde, 1999), the family pirate film Jolly Roger (2000), additional music for re-release of David’s Book (2000), the action/comedy film Old men in new cars (Gamle Mænd I Nye Biler, 2002), the famous National Geographic documentary The Mystery of Flying Enterprise (Det Skæve Skib, 2002), another two action/comedy films; The Good Cop (Den Gode Strømer, 2004) and The Collector (Inkasso, 2004), and the documentaries Det forkerte mord (The Wrong Murder, 2006), A Journey into Piracy (På rejse med kamera og Kalashnikov – piraternes kyst, 2010), and recently Extreme diving (2010).
For director Charlotte Sachs Bostrup, George wrote the song One More Time for her comedy film Anja & Viktor (2001), and next year her producer Regner Grasten hired George to score the family comedy Bertram & Co. (2002). Two years later George composed the full score for Charlotte’s Anja After Viktor (Anja efter Viktor, 2003), and later he composed additional music for her comedy/romance film Veninder (Girlfriends, 2005).
George’s fellow film composers often use his skills as a songwriter, musician and pop/rock producer. In 2003, George wrote the credit-song Love is coming to town for the German animated film Till Eulenspiegel, scored by Søren Hyldgaard.
George recently teamed up once again with Trond Viggo Torgersen, to write a new musical that is set to open in Oslo, Norway, in the Fall of 2012.
George’s diverse musical background as a classically trained violinist, performing/recording artist, songwriter, producer and session-musician (he’s a multi instrumentalist, playing violin, piano, keyboards, guitar, bas, flutes and various percussion) allow him to expertly compose in all different genres and styles.
His passion for the distinctive melody lines, harmonies and rhythms, the quest and curiosity for the original, simple and unaffected expression, have taken him to many corners of the world. He has spent much time in the Middle East region within the past 2-3 years, to study and learn about Arab culture and music.
During his career, George has released more than one thousand titles, recorded 4 solo-albums, written a box-office musical, composed over two-dozen scores for films, produced about 50 albums, composed music for numerous commercials and TV shows, and received several Awards and Platinum, Gold and Silver Records.