Sympathetic Resonance

The Sympathetic Resonance Trio is comprised of three performers with different national, cultural and musical backgrounds. Sergej Tchirkov from St. Petersburg has the accordion as his main instrument and is a PhD candidate in music at the Grieg Academy, University of Bergen. Sergej has performed widely across Europe and has recently made himself known as a strong critic of Russian aggression and as a music activist with concerts against the war. David Gabriel Hebert is a Professor of music education at Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, and joins the trio as its trumpeter and vocalist. He comes from Seattle, and in addition to a broad career as a practicing musician, has around ten books and a number of publications behind him. Ole Øvretveit is a Norwegian guitarist, producer and political scientist. Øvretveit has a background in cultural and scientific cooperation across national borders as well as blues-based music.

Sympathetic Resonance began as a cross-genre music project where improvisation and co-creation were the focus. Over time it has become more structured and based around a set of songs, but co-creation, new thinking and improvisation remain central concepts. Our project aims to create an understanding of the times we live in and a commitment to help make the future better.

A war of occupation in Europe is something that only a short while ago most of us liked to imagine was impossible. But it is here, and decades of cross-border cooperation are ending, perhaps for good. Cooperation between Russia and the West is not possible today. But it is possible to use culture and music to understand both our common and differing histories, nature and cultural traditions. It is possible to focus on both the dark and light parts of history; It is also possible to shine a spotlight on the positive effects of interaction, cultural cooperation and mutual understanding between positive forces across borders. It is better to build bridges than walls, even if the bridges may be made of air.

With interaction and improvisation as a foundation, the trio interprets music across borders, eras, themes, cultures and nature, from the cold Arctic in the north to the rivers that flow south into the Black Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. Our project deepens understandings and dialogue based on three thematic threads: Human dignity and democracy; man and nature; interaction and co-creation.


·          Ol Man River

·       Wayfaring Stranger

·       Volga Boatmen Song

·       Oh Shenandoah



Sergej Tchirkov, accordion

David Hebert, voice and trumpet

Ole Øvretveit, acoustic guitar

Link to VR-painted video: https://youtu.be/oYEEsNrJ74E


Music Talks in Prilep

It is exciting to be in Prilep, North Macedonia as part of the MusicTalks project for enhancing the effectiveness of nonformal youth music activities, funded by the EU's Erasmus Plus program.

We look forward to reporting on the project outcomes, including our 13 research-based methods, at the upcoming Nordic Network for Music Education course in Bergen.

Videos of our work are posted here: https://sites.google.com/view/music-talks-erasmus-project/videos

Below are some photos from our work both yesterday and today:


Ethnomusicology Conference Papers

It was a pleasure to give two co-authored presentations this week for the XXXVII European Seminar in Ethnomusicology in Graz, Austria. This was together with a postdoctoral researcher and PhD student affiliated with the Grieg Academy Music Education research group.

Dr. Thanh Thuy Nguyen’s paper highlighted some major points from our forthcoming book (with Stefan Ostersjo and Henrik Frisk, on Cambridge University Press) about new methods for decolonized intercultural music collaborations.

Marianne Løkke Jakobsen’s paper expanded on our recent book chapter in Ethnomusicology and Cultural Diplomacy, about music diplomacy between China and Europe, featuring in-depth discussion of the Panda Suite project.


Nordic Network 2022 Course in Bergen

We look forward to hosting the 2022 Nordic Network for Music Education (NNME) intensive Master course on 24-28 October, in Bergen, Norway, at Western Norway University of Applied Sciences.

Click here for details: 


Travel grants from Nordplus will support several music education Master students (and their teachers) from across the 8 Nordic and Baltic countries with airfare and hotel costs to participate in Bergen, and others will participate online. 

At least 15 of the participating Master students will have an opportunity to present live in Bergen and obtain feedback on their in-progress theses from music education professors affiliated with universities in other countries. Other students will participate online from home. 

Keynote speakers for this NNME course include:

  • Chee Hoo Lum (National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore) 
  • Mikko Seppänen (University of the Arts, Helsinki) 
  • Helga Rut Gudmundsdottir and Adam Switala (University of Iceland) 
  • Zalys Vytautas (Siauliai University, Lithuania) 

Other special opportunities at the NNME course include:

  • Expert panel discussion on music learning technologies, moderated by Kristi Kiilu (Estonia)
  • Sessions by local experts on such topics as improvisation / 'soundpainting' (Jostein Stalheim), thesis writing strategies (Felicity Rinde and Catharina Christophersen), and media technologies (Sigrid Jordal Havre)
  • Live music-making sessions led by Ole Gunnar Eikeland and others, including Sympathetic Resonance Trio
  • Presentations on funded research projects: Music Talks (Erasmus Plus), and FUTURED (Norwegian Research Council)

Here is a link for more information about the Bergen area: https://en.visitbergen.com/

Here is a link for more information about NNME and its intensive Master courses: https://www.hvl.no/en/collaboration/networks/nordic-network-for-music-education/


Keynote Speech for National Conference in China

It is a pleasure to now be developing a keynote speech for China’s 2022 national conference on music and arts education.


UPDATE (1 January 2023): Incredibly, this conference had 450,000 participants (online and live), with 272 paper presentations, and my keynote was viewed by 67,000 people. 

UPDATE (12 October 2022): This conference has now been postponed by about two weeks (presumably due to pandemic restrictions) and there is now a new poster for it, which I am posting here (above the other one). I just learned that on the day after our keynote speeches there will be over 200 research presentations at this event! That is about the same size as major international conferences, and shows how significant China has become in the field of music research. I eagerly look forward to it.  

UPDATE (18 September 2022): Below is the title and abstract for my keynote speech. 

Why History Matters for Music Education: Practical and Disciplinary Considerations


History matters for music education in that it enables music teachers to apprehend the forces that shape musical and educational conditions. Historical understandings also enable teachers to convey an appreciation for cultural heritage, as well as recognition of how performance practices evolve, along with judgements about which aspects of music matter, and what features constitute “good” music. The History Standing Committee (HSC) of the International Society for Music Education (ISME), which I now Chair, is devoted to developing a global perspective on music education history. My book Theory and Method in Historical Ethnomusicology also demonstrates ways of producing an anthropological understanding of how music education develops. Since 2000, China has ascended in this field: traditional Chinese music has become more robustly institutionalized in major conservatoires, music genres of minority peoples have gained increasing attention, and China has even become a major center for “western” art music. Music education research from China is also growing in prominence, and it is encouraging to hear of Chinese research in the history of music education. I notice that aesthetic education is a major theme of this conference. In North America in the 1990s, praxialists shifted attention away from aesthetics to active music-making in education, but their arguments were based on Eurocentric definitions of “aesthetics,” and it is interesting to learn how this is regarded in China today. From 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted education and international relations worldwide, and its possible long-term impacts are unclear. History shows that economic risks tend to reduce public support for arts, and pandemic conditions have been a challenge for musicians worldwide. I will explore three questions: (1) How did historical musicians gain broader appreciation for their art during times of major disruption? (2) How is “aesthetic education” perceived differently in different national-educational contexts?, and (3) How might comparative-historical studies shed light on what has caused the recent blossoming of music education in China, to help ensure these successes are sustained far into the future?

Biographical Profile:

David G. Hebert, PhD is a full Professor of Music Education at Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, Bergen. There he leads the Grieg Academy Music Education research group and manages the state-funded Nordic Network for Music Education. He is also a Board member of the International Society for Music Education, and Chair of its History Standing Committee. He serves on editorial boards of several publications and has authored articles in 35 different professional journals. Professor Hebert has lectured for several universities in China and currently holds a position as Honorary Professor with the Education University of Hong Kong. He has served on doctoral supervisory committees for universities in 13 countries, and has directed research projects on each inhabited continent. He has produced edited volumes with such titles as Advancing Music Education in Northern Europe, Patriotism and Nationalism in Music Education, Music Glocalization: Heritage and Innovation in a Digital Age, Theory and Method in Historical Ethnomusicology, and Ethnomusicology and Cultural Diplomacy. Several Chinese scholars contributed to his latest book, Comparative and Decolonial Studies in Philosophy of Education (forthcoming, Springer press). With funding from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he is currently developing a music education PhD program in Uganda. 

It is also nice to see that an earlier book with Mikolaj Rykowski continues to be a “bestseller” in the top 5% with Cambridge Scholars press.