New Contributions in Historical Ethnomusicology

We are soon receiving a complete draft of Volume IV for our book series Deep Soundings: The Lexington Series in Historical Ethnomusicology. It will be one of the few books to offer an ethnomusicological perspective on a European composer, in this case Xaver Scharwenka, and is written by Dr. Mikolaj Rykowski, vice rector with the Paderewsky Academy of Music in Poznan, Poland. This book promises to advance the field of historical ethnomusicology with new insights into sociocultural and historical aspects of European art music, enriched through application of glocalization theory. Two additional volumes are already under contract with this series, and we expect several more over the coming years. 

It was also quite exciting last week to see the emergence of a brilliant new scholar in the fields of folk music and historical ethnomusicology, Dr. Laura Ellestad, who gave an impressive performance throughout her trial lecture and doctoral defense at the Norwegian Academy of Music, in Oslo. Dr. Ellestad’s dissertation sheds new light on historical Norwegian-American music traditions in the upper-Midwest region of the United States. She is also highly accomplished as a fiddler in Norwegian folk music genres, and has become the very first scholar in the academy’s folk music programs to successfully complete a PhD degree. Ellestad's dissertation is now available as a free download


MOU and Global Competence Partnership Established

This week we formally established cooperation at the doctoral and postgraduate levels between universities in Norway and Hong Kong. 

This was through both signing of a Memorandum of Understanding and the holding of our inaugural joint doctoral symposium. I am grateful for the support of our rektor Gunnar Yttri, vice dean Vegard Fusche Moe and the vice president and dean of the Hong Kong institution, Prof. Sing Kai Lo. 

Koji Matsunobu, a highly accomplished scholar who I have known for many years, is the main partner for this project on the Hong Kong side. 

Click HERE for the project website.

Click HERE for the symposium program.


New Demo Recording: Sympathetic Resonance Trio

The Sympathetic Resonance Trio is now making its second demo recording. The latest repertoire includes songs from an unusually diverse array of genres: a local Norwegian boating song, a romantic Russian art song (by Glinka), a timeless Bob Dylan tune, a ritualistic piece by a Sami songwriter, a jazz standard waltz-ballad, and a Ukrainian folk song. 

In addition to singing and playing trumpet with this group, recently I have been developing technique on the cajon, a versatile percussion instrument from South America that helps to add some additional depth to the trio’s sound.

Our first demo recording was made about 9 months ago, so we now have plenty of material for a full 2-hour set and a full album. 

Below is a sneak preview of one of these songs, a duet performance of Glinka’s art song (with powerful lyrics by Pushkin), “Ja pomnju chudnoe mgnovenie”: 

Painting: Karl Briullov’s “A Dream of a Girl Before Sunrise”

Doctorate on Norwegian-American Music

I look forward to serving as the first Opponent (external examiner) at the end of May for a PhD defense at the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo.



Laura Ellestad has produced a very interesting dissertation in the field of historical ethnomusicology on Norwegian-American fiddling traditions. It is a quite interesting study, and I hope there will be an enthusiastic audience at both her trial lecture and doctoral defense. 

This will be my first time to take part in a doctoral defense at the Norwegian Academy of Music. I have previously participated in doctoral disputations at two of the other major Nordic music academies: Malmo Academy of Music (Lund University) and Sibelius Academy (University of the Arts Helsinki), but each institution has slightly different procedures.

Image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Midt.jpg


Global Competence Partnership Launch

The Global Competence Partnership project is fully underway now, and on May 15 we will host a group of 20 professors, doctoral students, and university leaders from the Education University of Hong Kong at our campus in Bergen, Norway.

Our visitors will participate in an MOU signing ceremony (between Rector and Vice President), and have a shared doctoral symposium with PhD students from Western Norway University of Applied Sciences.   

Below are links related to the Global Competence Partnership project and its May 15 launch event:

Click HERE for the project website.

Click HERE for the symposium program.

Shown above is a photo taken of curving train tracks, just a ten-minute walk from my home by the lake in Norway. Life often takes us on a curvy path, but eventually we go in the right direction. 


Global Philosophy of Education PhD Course

April 2023, and we are busily preparing to offer the course PhD911 Non-Western Educational Philosophy and Policy, now that the administration has completed its admissions process. I am pleased to report that we had 34 applicants from universities in 17 countries: Ghana, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Uganda, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Finland, UAE, Iran, Bangladesh, India, China, Australia, Canada, and the USA.

The course runs during the first two weeks of May 2023 as an entirely online doctoral seminar, and its live discussion sessions will be planned for compatibility with the various time zones. Later, the students will work on their writing assignment with some individual tutoring. It is exciting to see such interest in this topic, and I am hopeful that we will learn much from each other and collectively produce some unique outcomes.

The first two cohorts of this course (2020-2022) produced the book Comparative and Decolonial Studies in Philosophy of Education, and hopefully the 2023 cohort will also develop plans for a collaborative project of some kind.

The images shown here are from the beautiful Faroe Islands, where I serve on a PhD committee as an Affiliate Professor at University of Faroe Islands.


Music of the Faroe Islands

The Faroe Islands is an autonomous territory of 18 islands located north of Scotland, between Iceland and Norway. With roots traceable to a teacher’s seminary founded in 1870, the University of the Faroe Islands is located in the capital city Torshavn (pictured here).   

It is a pleasure to have the opportunity to serve as a supervisory professor on the PhD dissertation committee of Knut Eysturstein at University of the Faroe Islands. Knut is researching music traditions of the Faroe Islands and ways of sustaining traditional music through school education.