The advent of 2007 entails the inauguration of the "Grieg year" in Norwegian cultural consciousness; a year dedicated to the commemoration of Norway’s greatest composer Edvard Grieg, who died one hundred years ago.
In Norway 2006 was the year dedicated to Henrik Ibsen, and now the spirit of national commemoration and celebration is transferred from literature to music and to Edvard Grieg. It seems quite extraordinary that the celebrations of two of Norway’s true artistic deities should follow in consecutive years, but in fact it is not a coincidence that the principal cultural figures from a national culture were contemporaries and thus that their centennial commemorations also coincide.
Ibsen and Grieg are intimately linked, most of all through Grieg’s work with Ibsen’s famous play Peer Gynt, which became the composer’s perhaps most celebrated piece. It is played worldwide and known to all ears. As part of our global musical heritage it places Grieg in the pantheon of composers.
Thus it is both natural and beneficial that the Grieg year follows Ibsen’s and takes over the unique focus that befell the latter in 2006. This transition entails considerable “synergies” in terms of both execution and content and Grieg 07 will develop and further many of the perspectives and instruments from last year. This is not least true in terms of creating an extensive web-site which will serve as an information hub regarding the commemorational year and all its international events. It will also constitute an important source of information and scholarly exchange regarding Grieg himself and his music, and not least, it will hopefully become a dynamic live forum, which is meant to “belong to the users,” making it thus an indicator of Grieg’s contemporary attraction and his enduring international legacy.
Grieg 07 itself is a body set up to carry out the Grieg year in all its facets. The objective is to “revitalize and renew the Grieg heritage,” and fuse his music and thought with contemporary artistic conceptions and contemporary Norwegian national culture. Under this general heading three different sides of the man will be presented: Grieg the humanist, Grieg the composer and Grieg the sampler. Connecting to each of these aspects a plethora of events will take place throughout the year, and different perspectives set forth: Conferences, workshops and discussions. But the dominated ingredient will of course be performances of Grieg’s music.
For this a special “Grieg force” has been created, i.e. a special group of musicians set up for the specific purpose of performing Grieg around the world the whole year long. These, mostly young artists, from different backgrounds, will act as “ambassadors” around the world under the auspices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which is coordinating much of the international aspects of Grieg 07. The other main sponsors are the Norwegian arts Council, Grieg’s home city of Bergen and the county of Hordaland, along with the the Grieg foundation.
The different aspects that constitute the thematic lead through Grieg 07 naturally intertwine and they are meant to create a dynamic presentation of the man which enhances international knowledge and understanding and not least boosts interest in the music, which is the ultimate aim of the entire undertaking of course. The Grieg 07 web-site will be instrumental in coordinating the enterprise, both for the executioners and for the international public and users. The aim is to create a “worldwide family” which for a whole year will partake in the commemoration of Grieg and the revitalization of his art.