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.