Alf Hurum Centennial in the Conservatory, Tacoma
Surrounded by the tropical climate and flora evoking his chosen home of Honolulu, the Northwest Edvard Grieg Society will celebrate Alf Hurum’s centennial of his arrival to the US. The conservatory concerts will feature the Ellinor Quartet performing Hurum’s String Quartet and the Northwest Grieg Mannskor, directed by Scott Fikse, singing Hurum’s Lilja, a capella and in the original Norwegian, following the life of Christ, from birth to death. Also featured on the program will be an arrangement of the Norwegian folksong Emigrantsvisa for string quartet and soprano by Seattle Pacific University composition student Nathan Molvik, sung by soprano Laura Loge.
On the Program:
- String Quartet by Alf Hurum
- Lilja by Alf Hurum
- Emigrantsvisa arranged by Nathan Molvik
A Summary of the mini-series:
As part of the Northwest Edvard Grieg Society’s 2023-24 concert season, we will present chamber concerts to celebrate the arrival of Norwegian composer Alf Hurum in Honolulu, where he would live out much of the rest of his life. As many Norwegian composers who came after Edvard Grieg, his music has mostly been forgotten and is rarely performed, especially outside of Norway. Where Grieg experimented with early Impressionism, Hurum clearly established a unique Nordic Impressionist musical style, colored by his studies in Paris and St. Petersburg, Russia in the early part of the 20th century. His total volume of repertoire, while he was prolific while composing, is small because he chose to nearly cease his composing after moving to Honolulu. He, instead, turned his focus on visual art, taking up silk painting in the traditional Japanese style and painting the scenes from his adopted tropical island. He continued to be involved in music, serving as president of the Association of Honolulu Artists and as a member of the Morning Music Club. His visual works are still housed in the Honolulu Museum of Art and the Bishop Museum.
We will celebrate his legacy through his contributions to both visual and musical arts by presenting two unique concerts, one in a botanical conservatory or garden to represent his tropical chosen home, and another in an art museum featuring high-quality slides of his silk paintings, or his actual paintings should they be available. We will explore his String Quartet, selections from Lilja, his collection of songs for men’s chorus, song, works for solo piano, and violin sonatas.
With these concerts we will bring rarely-heard Norwegian music to audiences throughout the Northwest, and further afield, to the location Alf Hurum regarded as his home. We aim to foster connections between Norwegian and American cultures and celebrate the people who initially made them through sharing what they produced during their lifetimes and how their move affected their production. Grieg acted as an ambassador of Norwegian music for the rest of the western world, essentially putting Norway on the Art Music map. Neither Norwegian music nor those connections ended when he died. Rather they evolved and grew in new ways, many of which included emigration/immigration from Norway to the United States. Our connections run deep and this concert is one small way of celebrating those connections as well as those who initiated them through their own new chosen homes.