Centre for Grieg Research
Concert and seminar

Remembering Lost Music- Jewish cultural heritage in Scandinavia

2 – 4 May the Grieg Research Centre together with the composition class of the Grieg Academy arranged a concert and seminar led by Dániel Péter Biró will present results of our project on Lost Jewish musical heritage in Bergen, Norway, Scandinavia. The project is supported by strategic project development funds of the Faculty of Fine Art, Music, and Design at the University of Bergen. 

Concert Remembering Lost Music  St Markus church, Bergen
Senter for Griegforskning
Illustrasjon Nelly Sachs
Birgit Weyhe

Main content

This project was initiated by Arnulf Mattes, Leader of the Grieg Research Centre, and Dániel Péter Biró, Professor in Composition and created in conjunction with Hilde Haraldsen Sveen, Associate Professor for Voice at the Grieg academy, University of Bergen. Bringing together artistic, historical, and musicological perspectives, the overall aim of this project is to increase the awareness of Jewish cultural heritage in Bergen, Norway, and Scandinavia.

Little is known about the Jewish composers and musicians living in Scandinavia, most of them immigrating during the early 20th century, or driven into exile during World War II. What do we know about their biographies, their social and cultural conditions, their educational or institutional significance and impact? How did their reception as artists and migrants with Jewish background in local and national contexts shape their identity and relationship to the majority?

A further goal of this project is to revisit the history of Jews in Scandinavia in the light of the overall narrative of persecution, trauma, and Holocaust. New compositions based on poetry of Nelly Sachs written by Grieg Academy composition students explore these aspects from different, individual points of departure. These compositions will be juxtaposed by the composition Gvul (Border) by Dániel Péter Biró, which investigates historical memory and trauma via the deconstruction of musical material.

Finally, by inviting projects from visual arts to contribute, the aim is to initiate an interdisciplinary exchange on how historical testimonies and stories of persecution, trauma, exile, and survival can engage new audiences, challenging and complementing traditional forms of historiography by means of participatory methods of storytelling.

The results of this project are presented in cooperation with BIT20, pianist Ermis Theodorakis, Grieg Academy, and the Grieg research centre, University of Bergen.

Concert in St. Markus kirke 2 May 19:30:
Remembering Lost Music

Julia Constance Wiger-Nordås
Olve Haugen, Voice Diego Lucchesi, Clarinet Peter Kates, Percussion

Francisco Corthey
but who?
Filip Eriksen, Voice Jon Behncke, Trumpet Peter Kates, Percussion

Isak Hård
Om eg berre visste
Louise Engeseth, Voice Diego Lucchesi, Clarinet Martin Shultz, Violin

Emiliano Ortíz Benítez
Ágata Blanca
Maria Myklemyr Reite, Voice Jarle Lars Rotevatn, Piano Diego Lucchesi, Clarinet

Dániel Péter Biró
Gvul (Border) for Piano and Electronics
Ermis Theodorakis, Piano Dániel Péter Biró, Electronics 

International research seminar 3 – 4 May:

May 3: Grieg academy, Seminar room 206: 
Migration, history, musical heritage

Arnulf Mattes and Dániel Péter Biró, University of Bergen: 
Introduction - About the Project

09.45 -10.15
Per Kristian Sebak, Bergen Maritime Museum: 
History of Jewish Immigration to and the Holocaust in Bergen

Noa Landau, University of Bergen:
Jewish Reactions to Antisemitism in Norway After 1945

Alexander van der Haven, UiB:
Jewish trauma and memory in the aftermath of the seventeenth century Khmelnitzky massacres

11.15–11.30 – COFFEE BREAK

11.30- 12.00
Michael Custodis, Universität Münster: 
On Jewish Musicians in Norway 1930–45

Henrik Rosengren, Lund University: 
The Reception of Holocaust in the Music of the Postwar Nordic Countries

Arnulf Mattes, University of Bergen
Migrant, Musician, Jew: The Case of István Ipolyi

13.00-13.45 – LUNCH BREAK

Dániel Péter Biró, University of Bergen:
Historicized Composition and Negative Space in the Composition Gvul (Border)

Composition and Voice Students Grieg Academy
Presentations and Discussion about the concert: Remembering Lost Music  
Moderated by Dániel Péter Biró and Hilde Haraldsen Sveen

Discussion about Jewish Life in Bergen Yesterday and Today with Members of the Jewish Community of Bergen.
Moderated by Dániel Péter Biró


May 4: Faculty of Fine Art, Music, Design, Møllendal, Presentation room 2:
Artistic Representation, Memory, and Narrating Holocaust

Charlotte Schallié, University of Victoria: Visual Storytelling and Arts-based Action Research in Holocaust Witnessing and Testimony

Hilde Kramer, University of Bergen: 
Presenting the Unpresentable

Joanna Zofia Spyra, UiB:
The Aftermath of Pokłosie: Holocaust Education and the Pogrom in Jedwabne

11.30-12.00 – COFFEE BREAK

12.00-13.00 - Round table discussion with Charlotte Schallié, Hilde Kramer, Joanna Zofia Spyra, Dániel Péter Biró.
Moderated by Arnulf Mattes