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Orchestra goes Scandinavian on Whidbey Island
Have some krumkake! The orchestra has wowed the Scandinavian crowd.
The Saratoga Chamber Orchestra recently performed two evenings of Scandinavian music in a program titled “Uff Da! A Scandinavian Spectacular” accompanied by several Whidbey and off-island guests artists who are of Scandinavian descent. The native-language speakers even read poetry and told a bit about their native country before the orchestra played a piece of music by a composer from that country.
Before the program was chosen, conductor Legh Burns mused at how great it would be to have a Norwegian pianist perform Edvard Grieg’s Piano Concerto. Ironically, the next day, Kit Mills of the SCO called Burns and told him about a pianist he had heard perform a solo piano recital on Whidbey, who is from Norway. Shortly thereafter, Knut Erik Jensen was engaged as the guest soloist to be featured performing the Grieg A minor Piano Concerto with the Saratoga Chamber Orchestra.
Jensen is presently traveling the United States on an artist’s visa performing as a piano soloist mainly sponsored by the Sons of Norway and the Royal Norwegian Embassy. This fits with the orchestra’s mission to “collaborate with other artistic disciplines to augment and enhance the concert experience.”
The guest speakers included Swedish, Finnish, Danish and Norwegian folks, including Norwegian Langley resident Grethe Cammermeyer, who read “Solvieg’s Song,” a poem from Henrik Ibsen’s play “Peer Gynt.” The recitation was followed by a performance of Edvard Grieg’s music based on the same poem.
“This was the unannounced piece that we sometimes program into the concerts,” said Larry Heidel, a member of the orchestra. “The audience really enjoyed the enhancement this brought to the program.”
The concerts were performed on two consecutive evenings this month, one at Oak Harbor High School and one at South Whidbey High School.
The Sons of Norway Lodge and Daughters of Norway not only helped to sponsor the artist, but also provided Scandinavian baked goods for the concessions.