Senter for Griegforskning

Music and Politics

Transforming the Nordic

'Transforming the Nordic - the German Influence on Music and Politics in Norway 1930–60' is a research project established at the Grieg Research Centre in cooperation with the Department of Music at Universität Münster.

The aim of this coordinated project initiated by Michael Custodis (Universität Münster) and Arnulf Mattes (UiB) is to re-examine the relationship of music and politics in Norwegian musical life in the period 1930–60, based on new sources retrieved in Norwegian and German archives.

Within the coordinated German-Norwegian project various interrelated research topics are to be explored from new angles and illustrated by a wide range of case studies.

The project’s aim is to revisit the role of music in the construction of the nation state, in cultural memory and national historiography by studying power structures, protagonists’ agencies, and social networks. A main ingredient is the comprehensive understanding of the transformation of the ‘Nordic’ in music, culture, and politics from a geographical category, utopian idea, and nostalgic dream into a weapon of political propaganda during the 1930s and 1940s. 

Partner project at Universität Münster

The cooperation with Universität Münster includes Erasmus teaching-exchange, three international joint-conferences organized in Bergen and Münster between Fall 2017 and Spring 2019, publications including a handbook to cover all results of our out-lined conferences, and participation in a shared, mutual database collecting the large amount of new sources collected by the project group in international archives.  

Conferences and seminars

May 4, 2017, Litteraturhuset, Oslo: 
Norwegian Musical Life 1940–1945: New Findings and Perspectives 
With the participation of Bjarte Bruland, Ingrid Loe Dalaker, Arnulf Mattes, Michael Custodis, and Friedrich Geiger. 
Program: http://litteraturhuset.no/program/2017/05/Politikk_og_musikk_1940x45.html
In German: https://www.goethe.de/ins/no/de/m/ver.cfm?fuseaction=events.detail&event_id=20937896

September 26 and 27, 2016, Bergen Public Library and National library, Oslo:
Fighting for Grieg's Heritage. A Seminar about War and Politics
With the participation of Lorentz Reitan and Sigurd Sandmo (Bergen), Rolf Hobson, Tom Kristiansen, Tore Helseth, Richard Gjems (Oslo) 


Results of collaborative research are being published in co-authored publications, including an article for Archiv für Musikwissenschaft,  contributions to forthcoming anthologies, and finally collected in a handbook.

’Zur Kategorie des ”Nordischen“ in der norwegischen Musikgeschichte 1930–45’, co-authored with Michael Custodis, Archiv für Musikwissenschaft, 73, (2016/3), p. 166–184. http://www.ingentaconnect.com/contentone/fsv/afmw/2016/00000073/00000003/art00001