Terje Bjørn Lerstad was born in Oslo in 1955. From 1967 to 1974, studies with Olav Rimstad at the Oslo Conservatory of Music. After high school, clarinet studies with Richard Kjelstrup at the Norwegian Academy of Music. Bass clarinet studies with Harry Sparnaay in Holland; finished graduate study at Koninklijk Conservatorium, the Hague in 1982.
From 1979 to 1981 E flat clarinettist in East Norwegian Military Band. Debut recital in February 1980. From 1982 bass clarinettist in the Norwegian National Opera in Oslo. Founder of Bozza Trio and Het Basklarinettencollektief. Soloist with ASKO Ensemble in Holland Festival 1982, the Soloist Festival arranged by the Norwegian section of ISCM 1987, with Norwegian Radio Orchestra (Ultima Festival 1992), with Stavanger Symphony Orchestra 1993, ISCM Festival Stockholm 1995, with Oslo Sinfonietta 2000. Member of OsloSinfonietta and Cikada from the start and active as a performer of contemporary music. Several recordings with these ensembles and one with Norwegian music for clarinet and piano.
Mainly self-taught in composition, he has still written 210 works until now. The works before ca. 1972 are classical/romantic in style (not something "neo-", but more or less pastiches). During the 1970´s more advanced harmony and rhythm are used, and towards 1980 a great source of inspiration is "pre-tonal" music (from the renaissance and middle ages). His music has continued sounding more modernistic the last 20 years, but he has never used tecniques like dodecaphony and serialism, and there is always a returning to renaissance music and traditional music (mostly from Tibet, Japan and the Balkans) as sources to develop his compositions. The most complex in his music is the rhythm and the instrumentation using rare instruments (or even self-built instruments) soloistically.