Centre for Grieg Research


Transforming the Nordic

'Transforming the Nordic - Music and Politics in Norway 1930–45' is a research project established at the Grieg Research Centre in cooperation with the Department of Music at Universität Münster and Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG).

The aim of the coordinated project "Nordic Music" - Resistance, Persecution, Collaboration, and Reintegration in Norway’s Music Life 1930–1960 initiated by Arnulf Mattes (UiB) and Michael Custodis (Universität Münster) is to re-examine the role of music in Norwegian nation state building after 1905 in the context of European, nationalist movements of the first half of the twentieth century. 

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 cultural memory and national historiography by studying musical works, practices, and agencies in context of the social networks and political hierarchies in Norwegian musical life. 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. 

DFG grant for partner project at Universität Münster

The partner project at Universität Münster 'Nordic Music Politics - The German Dominance of Music in Norway 1930–45' received a three year research grant from Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG). Project duration: 2017–2020.

Further, the cooperation with DFG and Universität Münster includes exchange of teachers and students (ERASMUS), the organization of joint workshops and international conferences in Bergen and Münster, a shared database, and a collectively edited handbook. 


In 2016, an ERASMUS student exchange program between UiB and WWU Münster has been established. 

Fall term 2017, Prof. Custodis will be affiliated with the Grieg Research Centre as Visiting scholar. 

Winter semester 2018, Arnulf Mattes is invited as guest lecturer in Münster, supported by ERASMUS mobility grant. 

International conferences and seminars

March 20–21, 2018, Grieg Research Centre (Bergen): 
The Nordic Ingredient - European Nationalisms and Norwegian Music Since 1905.
Joint conference Grieg Research Centre+DFG project WWU Münster.
Program and registration:

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 Norwegian 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. 


Results of collaborative research are being presented continuously at national and international conferences, in journal articles, conference proceedings, and contributions to anthologies. A first co-authored article was published in 2016:

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