Remembering Ibsen

Kathmandu :

The year 2006 is being observed as the death centennial of Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen the world over. Here, the Norwegian embassy is organising various programmes.

An art exhibition and poetry recitals influenced by Ibsen followed by a Jazz ensemble on Ibsen’s Peer Gynt to be performed by Nepali and Norwegian musicians, is planned at BICC for May 23. An additional concert will be held at Basantapur Durbar Square on May 24.

Ibsen’s Peer Gynt is a play in verses. When Ibsen wrote it in 1867, he asked Edvard Grieg to compose the music. Grieg composed two classical pieces, then popularly known as suites. Later Duke Ellington, an American composer, interpreted the suites in jazz form. Helge Hurum, a leading jazz musician in Norway, reinterpreted it and played in 1994 Winter Olympics.

The team from Norway is already here — two professional artistic directors and music students from the Norwegian Concert Institute. Together with nine Nepali musicians, they have been diligently rehearsing to give their audience an unforgettable show.

The Nepali team comprises senior saxophone player like Shuva Bahadur Sunam, who has been playing for over 40 years . Others include members of the Rodhi and Cadenza bands.

Eva Hannisdahl, head of international projects and tour manager said, “Language barrier, no formal music education and no earlier jazz playing experience have been some of the difficulties for the Nepali team. Only three of them have played jazz before.”

Frode Nymo, artistic director said, “Collaborating with the Nepali team is challenging but I am impressed by the commitment they have shown. Unlike the Norwegian team, the Nepali team focuses more on learning by listening than on reading the notes.”

With the aim of collaborating and enhancing music education in Nepal, Norway has a five-year agreement with Music Nepal. Under this, a pilot project funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, of establishing a music school in Nepal is underway. This will also be the centre for music and documentation of Nepali music and will have various exchange programmes.