Botnen is one of Norways foremost pianists. He was born in 1959 and grew up in Norheimsund in Hardanger. From 1978 to 1983 he studied with Czech professor Jiri Hlinka at the Bergen Music Conservatory. His great talent early secured him invitation to play with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra. In 1982 he became the first Norwegian pianist to take part in the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. In 1998 Botnen also studied piano courses and interpretation with György Kurtag.
He has performed with a number of Norwegian and foreign orchestras and with acclaimed conductors such as Alan Gilbert, Arvid Jansons, Dmitri Kitayenko and Edward Serov.
As a recitalist Botnen has played a large number of concerts throughout Norway and internationally, including The Bergen International Festival, The Sopron Liszt Festival, Hungary, Risør Chamber Music Fest, Hardingtonar Music Festival, China Shanghai International Art Festival, Kenyan Classical Fusion in Nairobi and St.Magnusfestival on the Orkneys, soloist appearance in Cairo Opera with symphony orchestra and also a concert at the Library of Alexandria.
In 1993 Botnen opened the Edvard Grieg 150th Anniversary celebrations in Norway,
In this context he also played Grieg programs in several Asian capitals. Together with the acclaimed choir Voci Nobili Botnen concertized in Copenhagen, New York, Los Angeles and several cities of South Korea. In 2007 trumpeter Tine Thing Helseth and Botnen performed
in Norway and Belgium.Same year Botnen performed Grieg Piano Concerto in Bucharest with the Roumanian Radio Orchestra and in Chisinau with the Philharmonic Orchestra of Moldova and with St. Petersburg Symphony, – a city where he has held a number of recitals over the recent decades.
In 2004 Botnen was invited to performe at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo. Botnen also had the honor of playing the opening concert of the Ole Bull anniversary in 2010 at the National Theatre in Bergen.
Botnen is an attractive performing partner for a number of outstanding Norwegian artists.
He was instrumental in the founding of the annual Hardingtonar Festival with the purpose of increasing knowledge of the Hardanger-composer Geirr Tveitt. Botnen is Chairman and Artistic Director chairman of the festival which aim is to raise the knowledge of folk music and other cultural creations in Hardanger.
Botnen is a board member of Jiri Hlinka International Music Academy and was a member of the artistic network Hardingpuls 1996 to 2005.
His discography includes critically acclaimed recordings of music by Grieg and Tveitt in addition to many excellent recordings with collaborating artists. (See discography)