250th Anniversary in Bergen

The 250th Anniversary Finale concert of the Bergen Philharmonic will soon be here! This is scheduled for December 10th and 11th, with a performance of Arnold Schönberg’s magnificent composition, Gurrelieder, conducted by Edward Gardner.

On a personal note, it was an incredible experience to perform Gurrelieder two years ago in Berlin as part of the Norwegian professional choir with the Berlin Philharmonic, conducted by Simon Rattle. And now, it is a relief to find my voice has finally returned (after weeks of pneumonia), in time for the start of rehearsals for this Gurrelieder performance in Bergen.

The Grieg Research School course is also in just a few days here in Bergen, and features some great keynote speakers, including Pam Burnard, Gary Ansdell and Nanette Nielsen. I will be a Respondent to a presentation there by Oded Ben-Horin.

Beyond Norway, I am currently planning another visit to Beijing to continue work with Jiaxing Xie on development of the Open Global Music Academy project, which seeks to enhance international collaboration across higher education music programs. In the spring will be a presentation in Paris with Jon McCollum for the International Council for Traditional Music, and a visit to Copenhagen for teaching at the Rhythmic Music Conservatory (with Lars Brinck), as well as research collaborations with Kristoffer Jensen (computational musicologist), Li Xin (Director of Confucius Music Institute, Royal Danish Academy of Music), and Margaret Mehl (East Asian studies specialist, University of Copenhagen).

Wikipedia currently has a rather detailed article on Gurre-Lieder. This masterpiece will be a great final performance for 2015. Edvard Grieg would surely have been proud to see that Bergen continues to be a musically significant city.


Hall of Fame Award

This week I was very surprised to learn that I have been nominated for the “Hall of Fame Award” from the organization Pacific University Friends of Music. I believe this is my first time ever to receive an award of this kind, so it was quite unexpected. Candidates for this award should have “an exemplary career either in music education, performance or both,” as well as “10 years of teaching music or 10 years as a professional musician,” and “demonstrate significant contributions to the field of music.” I will mention that even for people who are consistently diligent and dedicated to their profession, it can often feel uncertain whether one’s efforts are even noticed, and in some careers the financial benefits and signs of appreciation tend to be less than others. Particularly in highly-competitive fields, where scarce resources can lead to rivalries, cliquishness and exclusionary practices, it often becomes difficult to objectively assess the current state of the field and one’s own role within it. 

It is rather unusual to receive this kind of recognition, and a positive “wake-up call” regarding the greater good that can be found in all kinds of circumstances. I acknowledge that awards only rarely seem to go to the most deserving candidate, but at least in this case it is clear that the recipient did not know anyone on the committee and did not even know the award existed. Therefore, I am particularly grateful to the Friends of Music organization for its sincere interest in recognizing musicians, and for acknowledging my own years of work in the field of music and music education. Hopefully I will manage to stay healthy and productive, and accomplish much more over the next 30 years as well, producing increasingly original music and musical insights to share with others. 

News of this award comes as I finally recover from a few weeks of frustrating illness and try to get caught up on all of my work: so many emails to answer, as well as teaching and publications to prepare. From now on, as a preventative measure I am determined to get both pneumonia shots and flue shots every year. I am trying to schedule an ideal time to travel to the US to receive this Hall of Fame award in beautiful Oregon state.  

Pictured above is a photo I took of the tomb of the Prophet Daniel, because my very first attempt at “scholarly” work was around age 9 as a grade school student: A description and interpretation of the Book of Daniel, which is full of mysterious visions, prophesies, and complex power relations that have been inspirational to generations of readers from Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and secular traditions. A few months ago I visited what is believed to be Daniel’s tomb, in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. Many doubts have been raised about Daniel, and in certain ways his enduring image seems symbolic of many of the abstract quests that artists pursue, which are deeply meaningful despite an inability to fully explain their power in words. 


Brazil Residency

For many years I have been curious about Brazil, and must admit a deep fascination from afar with its remarkable legacy of brilliant songwriters and performers, from Antonio Carlos Jobim, to Milton Nascimento, Gilberto Gil, Caetano Veloso, Maria Bethania, Ivan Lins, Airto Moreira, Flora Purim, and so many others.

In the field of classical art music, a particularly beautiful piece from Brazil is the soprano solo with chamber orchestra from “Bachianas Brasileiras No.5” by Heitor Villa Lobos. My favorite performance of that piece was sung about a year ago by soprano Laia Falcon on an island in the Netherlands. Early this year I enjoyed hearing Njål Vindenes perform one of the many brilliant guitar solos by Villa-Lobos.

I am very thankful to now be receiving funding from the government of Brazil, Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico "National Counsel of Technological and Scientific Development" (CNPq), for a brief stay as Visiting Professor at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul in Porto Alegre. While there, I will be giving lectures and advising research for the university’s PhD program in music (regarded as among the very best in Latin America), and doing some performing and workshops. The Brazilian institution has approached Bergen University College about some collaborative research projects, and other forms of cooperation. The music programs in Bergen already have agreements with universities in many different countries, but this is our first prospect in Latin America, and I have also been helping the institution to develop relations with institutions in East Asia across recent years (both China and Japan).

From Brazil, Professor Liane Hentschke and I will also give a presentation via videoconference for the national Chinese music education association meeting in Shanghai regarding development of the Open Global Academy of Music initiative, based in Beijing. During this time, I will also film a teaching video and do some videoconferencing for the PhD program in Bergen, so our Norwegian students can get a taste of what is available in Brazil. Upon returning to Europe, I will go to Iceland for the annual meeting of the Nordic Network for Music Education, and respond to papers by Master students from various Nordic and Baltic nations.


Music and Globalization in a Digital Age

I am pleased to announce that a contract has just been offered for my latest book, which will be co-edited with Polish musicologist Mikolaj Rykowsi. We have several outstanding contributors, mostly musicologists and music educators from central and Eastern Europe, who address an array of topics associated with how globalization is changing music worldwide:

Hebert, D. G. & Rykowski, M. (Eds.), (2016, forthcoming). Music Glocalization: Heritage and Innovation in a Digital Age. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

This book was developed through two conferences on Music and Globalization held in Poznan, Poland, birthplace of leading "glocalization" theorist Zygmunt Bauman.
The book is scheduled to be published in late 2016 following publication of another book on East Asian cultural studies:

Hebert, D. G. (Ed.), (2016, forthcoming). International Perspectives on Translation, Education, and Innovation in Japanese and Korean Societies. Dordrecht: Springer.

It is also exciting to have an opportunity to return to Samarkand, Uzbekistan soon to give a keynote speech for the academic symposium at the extraordinary Sharq Taronalari music festival. 


Grieg Academy Music Education

Announcing the Grieg Academy Music Education research group (GAME) . . . . . . .

GAME - The Grieg Academy Music Education Research Group
(Griegakademiets forskergruppe for musikkpedagogikk)

The Grieg Academy Music Education research group (GAME) was created in 2015 as a collaboration between music education researchers at Bergen University College and the University of Bergen for the purpose of establishing and promoting new research projects in the field of music education.

GAME will work for:
Development of new knowledge that stimulates critical reflection on pedagogical and learning practices in music education
Development of, and recruitment toward, postgraduate music education studies on the Master and PhD-levels.
Active conference participation and presentations of GAME-related research projects, in local, national, and international settings.
Expanding contact and collaboration with other research environments and individual scholars in Norway and abroad.
Planning and implementation of events in Bergen for knowledge sharing across the music teaching profession.

Members of the research group:

David G. Hebert, Professor, Bergen University College (leader of GAME)
Steinar Sætre, Associate Professor, University of Bergen
Tom Eide Osa, Associate Professor, University of Bergen
Tiri Bergesen Schei, Associate Professor, Bergen University College
Silje Valde Onsrud, Associate Professor, Bergen University College
Aslaug Furholt, Assistant Professor, Bergen University College


Major Research Topics of Shared Interest 

Musical knowledge, music performance research, philosophy of music/education, music in early childhood, musical identity, improvisation and creativity, music education in East Asia, performance-based learning

Research Methodologies:
Ethnography, historiography, qualitative interviews, global studies, video analyses

Theoretical Orientations:
Transdisciplinarity, gender theory, sociocultural theory, phenomenology, globalization/internationalism, motivational theory, social epistemology

More information: 


Rommetveit Summer School

June is nearly here, and upon returning from some teaching and research in Beijing, I now look forward to the Rommetveit Summer School (an annual event of the Grieg Research School), which will be held June 9th to 12th, 2015. This year’s seminar theme is “The art and science of improvisation in education”. Below is an explanation of this year’s joint conference from its welcome statement:

“The summer-school is a collaboration between Stord/Haugesund University College (SHUC), Grieg Research School in Interdisciplinary Music Studies (GRS)  and The Norwegian National Graduate School in Teacher Education (NAFOL). The venue of the summer-school is SHUC’s campus on the island of Stord located at the mouth of the Hardangerfjord.”

Here is a link for further details: http://prosjektsider.hsh.no/r15/

Several prolific scholars from such fields as ethnomusicology and arts education will be giving presentations, including Liora Bresler, Keith Sawyer, Ted Solis, Gert Biesta, Laudan Nooshin, and others.

My current PhD students will give presentations at the Rommetveit Summer School, and on Friday I will also serve as a respondent for PhD candidate presentations by scholars from other institutions: Elizabeth Oltedal and Una MacGlone. Due to final examinations I will need to miss some of the conference, but the exams will also be very interesting as we get to see what new works our student songwriters have composed as part of their Bachelor degree studies. 


Sounds Like Nordic Spring

Photo: David G. Hebert, May 2015, all rights reserved.

The Nordic spring has sprung at last (with incredibly long and bright days), and there are various new developments with the music programs at my institution. We will soon be making curricular plans for a 5-year integrated Bachelor/Master program, which provides an opportunity to develop some new approaches. We also recently offered an honorary concert “You Taught My Heart to Sing” that celebrated the distinguished career of our fine jazz keyboard teacher, Stein Bakke. He has been with the institution for over 40 years, and will retire soon. A few weeks ago I was also appointed institutional coordinator for the Nordic Network for Music Education, a productive organization with a focus on postgraduate training, which has active members in several Nordic and Baltic countries. The network is funded by Nordplus and coordinated internationally by Torunn Bakken Hauge through Bergen University College. 

It looks like we may soon have a partnership with Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), Porto Alegre, Brazil. UFRGS stakes a claim as one of Latin America’s most prominent research universities, with programs across virtually all major university subjects, as well as a highly regarded PhD program in music. Brazil is also a very important country for music, so we are excited about the possibility of strengthening ties with that country. I look forward to visiting there someday (perhaps with Norwegian students) and hosting Brazilian musicians in Norway.

Recently I have enjoyed Geoffrey Baker’s brand new book El Sistema: Orchestrating Venezuela’s Youth, which much like one of my earlier books Wind Bands and Cultural Identity in Japanese Schools offers a detailed socio-historical examination of an entire national system of music education based on ethnographic fieldwork. El Sistema has been attracting a lot of attention worldwide, and it is good to see a thorough study that critically examines the strengths and weaknesses of this increasingly prominent approach to music education.

In terms of writing, I have finally recovered some data, the absence of which had caused a major delay in completing a book chapter. This has been an embarrassment, and I am rushing to complete that chapter now in the hope of finishing before the editor has to tell me I am too late. It is my first time facing this situation, but hopefully the last. Also, two co-authored publications are now either in press or in revision for publication in 2015: an article in the field of computational musicology (considered a division of “digital humanities”) based on a very fruitful collaboration with Kristoffer Jensen, and an article on music education in Guyana with Rohan Sagar. The contract is also finally signed for my next book, International Perspectives on Translation, Education and Innovation in Japanese and Korean Societies (David Hebert, ed., Springer, 2016). This book is based on conference proceedings and at this point requires some substantial editing and formatting, and will be ready for press by winter. I am also looking forward to an upcoming collaboration with Alex Ruthmann (NYU) and Jiaxing Xie (China Conservatory, Beijing) in a pioneering project that promises to have a major impact on how advanced institutions globally collaborate in the field of music.