And Austbø's musical education has been a multi-ingredient recipe as well, beginning in his homeland, and then moving to France, the U.S., Germany, and England. In addition, Austbø lived and worked in Holland for three decades before finally returning to Norway. He has served on the faculties of several major music schools, including the Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam. Austbø has made countless recordings over the years for a variety of labels, including BIS, Brilliant Classics, Harmonia Mundi, Naïve, Naxos, Norway Music, and Simax.
Håkon Austbø was born in Kongsberg, Norway, on October 22, 1948. After early studies in Norway, he enrolled at the Paris Conservatory and had later studies in Paris at the Ecole Normale de Musique. In 1970 he won the Concours National de la Guilde Française des Artistes Solistes, a Paris-based competition. The following year captured first prize at the Olivier Messiaen Competition, in Royan, France.
Despite his successes, Austbø enrolled at Juilliard and later on at the Munich-based Staatliche Hochschule für Musik and in London. In 1973 Austbø made his first recording, an LP of Debussy duets, with Claude Helffer. Austbø would become a prizewinner in several important competitions, including for duo piano performance at the 1974 ARD International Competition in Munich, and for the 1975 Ravel Competition in Paris.
Austbø relocated to Holland and in 1980 joined the faculty at the Hogeschool voor de Kunsten in Utrecht. He recorded the 10 Scriabin sonatas for the Simax label and was given a Norway Grammy Award for the project in 1990. In 1994 Austbø accepted a post on the faculty of the Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam. He also continued to concertize and record with great success: Austbø won an Edison Prize in 1998 for his three-disc set of the complete Messiaen Catalogue des oiseaux. More importantly, he won Norway's most coveted music award in 2003, the Grieg Prize. Among Austbø's more acclaimed recordings is the 2010 reissue on Brilliant Classics of the complete solo piano works of Grieg.