Dr. Sigbjørn Apeland

Keynote speaker: Dr. Sigbjørn Apeland

Time: Wednesday 10th June, 14:30 – 16:00
Title: Improvising with the harmonium: Stories and Sounds

In this presentation, I will take a distanced position towards my own playing, trying to analyze what is happening when a contemporary improviser puts a forgotten, but historically and symbolically loaded instrument into play.

I will use the harmonium as a point of departure for problematizing the genres, contexts, stories and memories that are parts of the social event that any musical statement represents.

Improvising on the harmonium is not only about making sound. It is about relating to more or less broken instruments, logistics and solving a lot of practical challenges. For me the “musical” and the “extra-musical”(or text/context) becomes an inseparable unity.

Sigbjørn Apeland

Sigbjørn Apeland

Sigbjørn Apeland (1966). Education from Rogaland Conservatory of Music (organ) and The University of Bergen (Ph.D in etnomusicology). He holds a position as associate professor at Arne Bjørndal´s collection of Norwegian folk music at the University of Bergen. He collaborates with musicians within a wide range of genres, especially church music, Norwegian folk music, electronics and improvised music. He has also composed/performed music for mixed-media projects, most recently: The Organ Tower (installation/performance for about 25 harmoniums and electronic organs), Kanskje aller helst der (play by Ragnar Hovland), Jeanne d´Arc (silent movie). Participates on about 40 recordings. Two of those have got the Norwegian “Grammy” – Spellemannsprisen. (With Alog, electronica 2005, and Sigrid Moldestad, folk music 2007). Apeland is one of the few musicians who frequently plays the harmonium on professional occations. As an academic, Apeland has been teaching, supervising and writing within the fields of musicology, cultural studies, church music, theology and folklore studies. He has also extensive experience as a folk music collector and researcher, basically focused on material from Western Norway.

Key questions addressed by the lecture:

  • Are there any limits between music and context?
  • How important is the difference between musical improvisation and everyday human action?

Recommended listening:
Glossolalia (HUBRO CD2503).