Augsburg News

News Archives - 2000

Augsburg College to celebrate Scandinavian Heritage with Concerts, Lectures During two-week Mai Fest

Mar. 09, 2000

To celebrate its Scandinavian history and the gift of a rare music collection, Augsburg College announced it will present a two-week festival, Mai Fest, that will run on campus from April 28-May 10.

Mai Fest, a traditional Scandinavian celebration, is open to the public and will feature concerts and guest lectures (complete event schedule follows) intended to enhance the general public's appreciation of Nordic culture, art and ideas while helping Midwestern Scandinavians retain their heritage.

Mai Fest events were also scheduled to help "bring to life" a rare 1,400-piece Scandinavian music collection that was given to Augsburg by the American-Scandinavian Foundation in 1966. The cataloging and physical preparation of the collection was completed in March.

The idea for the Mai Fest celebration was partially borne out of memories of a similar festival held in 1965 at Augsburg that featured Scandinavian art, folk dances and music. The completion of the cataloging of Augsburg's Scandinavian music collection served as another impetus for scheduling this year's event.

The cataloging was made possible by a $10,000 grant received last year from the Aid Association for Lutherans, and it means that the rare music collection can now be used by students and researchers throughout the world.

Before the collection was cataloged, it was evaluated in February 1999 by Dr. Dag Schjelderup-Ebbe, professor emeritus of the University of Olso, and a Grieg scholar. According to Schjelderup-Ebbe's assessment, the collection now comprises around 35,000 music scores and some 500 records of music by Nordic composers. Most of the music dates from after 1910, although there are a few 19th century compositions. The collection contains orchestral and chamber works as well as vocal and piano pieces.


April 28-May 7
A Little Night Music, by Stephen Sondheim, an adaptation of Ingmar Bergman's Smiles of a Summer Night. A Little Night Music takes place in a turn-of-the-century Swedish chateau. April 28-May 7, Tjornhom Nelson Theatre, 22nd and Riverside Avenues, $8, contact (612) 30-1257 for ticket information
May 1
Jazz Ensemble Concert, 7 p.m., Hoversten Chapel, 22nd and Riverside Avenues, free
May 5
Lecture by William Halverson and Finn Benestad "Yours truly, Evard: Gleanings from the Letters of Evard Grieg," 10:20 a.m., Hoversten Chapel, 22nd and Riverside Avenues, free
May 6
Lecture discussing the Augsburg College Scandinavian collection and its significance, by Dag Schjelderup-Ebbe, noted musicologist from the University of Oslo, 11 a.m., Sateren Auditorium, 7 1/2 Street and 22nd Avenue, free
May 6
Wind Faculty Recital, 4 p.m., Sateren Auditorium, 7 1/2 Street and 22nd Avenue, free
May 7
The Pilgrim,by Sigvald Tveit, performed by the Masterworks Chorale of Augsburg College, 7 p.m., Hoversten Chapel, 22nd and Riverside Avenues, $10, call (612) 330-1265 for ticket information
May 8
Vocal/Piano Faculty Recital, performing a set of pieces from the collection written by Otto Winter-Hjelm, 7 p.m., Hoversten Chapel, 22nd and Riverside Avenues, free
May 9
Organ Lecture/Demonstration Recital, Diana Lee Lucker, 7 p.m., Hoversten Chapel, 22nd and Riverside Avenues, free
May 10
Chamber Music Recital, 4 p.m., Sateren Auditorium, 7 1/2 Street and 22nd Avenue, free, reception will follow with traditional Scandinavian treats
April 14-May 21
Exhibition of special music pieces from Scandinavian collection in the Gage Family Gallery, in the James G. Lindell Family Library, 22nd and Riverside Avenues, free


William Halverson is associate dean emeritus of University College at The Ohio State University. Author of several books in philosophy and logic, Halverson is the translator of Benestad and Schjelderup-Ebbe's Edvard Grieg: The Man and the Artist and other important books and materials dealing with Norwegian music.

Finn Benestad, is professor emeritus of musicology at the Institute of Musicology at the University of Oslo, Norway. He has served as chair of the Edvard Grieg Committee, edited two volumes of chamber music for Edvard Grieg: Complete Works, and is co-author with Dag Schjelderup-Ebbe of a biography of Grieg. He has taught at the Universities of Trondheim and Oslo. Halverson's and Benestad's new publication, Edvard Grieg: Letters to Colleagues and Friends, will be the topic of the convocation. Although the book has just been released it has already begun to receive critical acclaim.

Dag Schjelderup-Ebbe is a co-founder and former chair of the Edvard Grieg Committee, which is publishing Edvard Grieg: Complete Works in 20 volumes (five of which he has edited). He has written four other books on Grieg. An active composer, Schjelderup-Ebbe has 27 published compositions to his credit. One of Schjelderup-Ebbe's most interesting discoveries during his February, 1999 visit to Augsburg College was a set of compositions for voice and piano written by Otto Winter-Hjelm, a little-known predecessor of Edvard Grieg. Schjelderup-Ebbe believes it is likely that this is the only existing copy of these compositions. These compositions are strikingly similar to some of Grieg's songs. Schjelderup-Ebbe speculates that Winter-Hjelm may have had a major influence on the younger composer.