Norwegian cellist Truls Mørk is particularly noted for his romantic, emotional approach. His parents were professional musicians; his father was a cellist, and his mother a pianist. His parents taught him first, trying him on the piano and violin before John Mørk decided to teach Truls his own instrument, the cello. Truls liked the instrument because of its larger size, and insisted on starting his studies with the Bach Cello Suite No. 1 and the Brahms E minor Cello Sonata. "This turned out to be much more difficult than I thought it would be," he says, but he kept working at it. He says his father did not push him for fear that he would practice too much and become a musician.
At the age of 17, Mørk began studying with Frans Helmerson. Later he studied with Austrian cellist Heinrich Schiff, then in Moscow with Natalia Shakhovskaya, a pupil of Mstislav Rostropovich, whom Mørk had admired for his broad range of color and his flexible, melodic use of vibrato. Mørk dislikes the German style of even vibrato, which, he says, drains the music of its vitality.
In 1982 at the age of 21, Mørk became the first Scandinavian to win the International Moscow Tchaikovsky Competition. He also won the Naumberg Competition in New York in 1986, the Cassado Cello Competition in Florence in 1983, and the UNESCO Prize at the European Radio-Union Competition in Bratislava.
His international touring career commenced in 1989 when he was selected to travel with the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra under Mariss Jansons on their 1994 North American tour. Since then he has appeared with many of the world's best-known orchestras and conductors, in both evergreen concertos and in new works by composers such as Pavel Haas, Krzysztof Penderecki, Hafliði Hallgrímsson, and Einojuhani Rautavaara.
Mørk is also an active chamber musician and appears frequently in festivals throughout the world. He was the founder of the International Chamber Music Festival in Stavanger, which he directed for its first 13 years.
Mørk plays a rare 1723 Domenico Montagnana cello purchased for him by the SR Bank.
He has recorded for Lyrinx and Simax, made a number of records for Bis, and is an exclusive artist on the Virgin Classics label. He is a winner of the Diapason d'Or, Le Choc, and Gramophone Awards, and was nominated for a Grammy Award for his recording of the Shostakovich Cello Concertos Nos. 1 & 2. The 2010 release of Concertos by C.P.E. Bach won an ECHO Klassik award.