Beethoven and Banjos - An Annual Musical Celebration for the UP
October will bring the 4th annual Beethoven and Banjos Music Festival. This year the festival is bringing Nordic folk music and some very unusual instruments to our UP audiences. Along with the musicians from Decoda (Carnegie Hall’s resident chamber group) and Laurel Premo, we are presenting Norwegian Hardanger fiddler Guro Kvifte Nesheim and Swedish Nyckelharpist Anna Gustavsson.
Decoda is a chamber ensemble comprised of virtuoso musicians, entrepreneurs, and passionate advocates of the arts. Based in New York City, Decoda creates innovative performances and engaging projects with partners around the world. Beethoven and Banjos artistic director, Evan Premo, brings the classical musicians and the traditional musicians together in residence in the Upper Peninsula to collaborate, compose new music and create a unique experience for listeners.
Guro Kvifte Nesheim grew up in Oslo, Norway, and started playing the Hardanger fiddle when she was seven years old. She has learned to play the traditional music of Norway from many great Hardanger fiddle players and has received prizes for her playing in national competitions for folk music. The Hardanger fiddle is a traditional instrument from Norway. The instrument has beautiful decorations, traditional rose painting, mother-of-pearl inlays and often a lion’s head. The main characteristic of the Hardanger Fiddle is the sympathetic strings that makes the sound very special – it’s like an old version of a speaker that amplifies the sound. In comparison to a normal fiddle its bridge is flatter, making it possible to play on two or three strings simultaneously, allowing one to make chords and harmonies which is also very typical for Hardanger Fiddle music.
Anna Gustavsson grew up in the countryside outside of Uppsala, and started playing nyckelharpa at the age of ten. After leaving school she studied at the Eric Sahlström Institute, Framnäs Folkhögskola, Ethnofonik (artistic leadership course in Paris) and is currently a student at the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm. She has been teaching nyckelharpa to students at the study center ”Sensus” in Stockholm and also at longer intensive courses in Sweden and USA. Laurel Premo and Anna Gustavsson have collaborated on a project of music together http://premogustavsson.com/ called ”I Walked Abroad” which blends Swedish and American fiddle traditions, and features new compositions based on these rich roots. The Nyckelharpa (‘keyed fiddle’) is a type of fiddle that uses ‘keys’ to shorten the strings and thus create different notes. As well as the strings that are bowed, there are sympathetic strings which are set in motion by the vibrations in the body of the instrument. These features and the design of the body all contribute to the characteristic silvery, yet warm and resonant tone of the nyckelharpa.
• Sunday, Oct. 7, 2:00 pm, Crystal Theatre, Crystal Falls
Workshops for school students are also scheduled for the week. For more information please visit www.beethovenandbanjos.org and the Beethoven and Banjos facebook page.