A unique Norwegian musical experience

Violinist Skogen Sällström will captivate Madison

Photo: Knut Erik Jensen Skogen Sällström in 2015.

Photo: Knut Erik Jensen
Skogen Sällström in 2015.

Special Release

Norwegian violinist Skogen Sällström is a captivating young talent known for his passionate artistry. Sällström aims to bring a “unique Norwegian musical experience” to his performance on May 1 at the 10th-annual benefit dinner for Madison’s Norwegian American Genealogical Center & Naeseth Library. This gala event will include a silent auction and gathering with the artist, followed by dinner and performance.

A specialist in Norwegian music, spanning the traditional, classical, and contemporary genres, Sällström takes audiences on a historical journey. “It’s interesting to recognize the commonality that has survived across genres throughout this history of music,” reflects Sällström. “These threads of tonalities and rhythms are woven throughout the tapestry of music, as if these motifs dance to the rhythms of Norway’s spectacular landscape.”

Sällström masterfully interprets each historical genre, then “splashes unexpected musical nuances suspended by his buoyancy. The violin is an extension of his body and soul, depicting the imagery of a frolicsome ‘nisse,’” says Mari Eikeland, recalling her fantasy during his performance at Buik Recital Hall in Elmhurst, Ill., last summer.

Sällström performs on the Hardanger fiddle, Norway’s instrument of eight or nine strings, four or five of which act in sympathetic vibration, bringing out the instrument’s unique resonances. A traditional instrument, the Hardanger fiddle also lends itself to the contemporary folk pieces performed by this young musician, such as his own contemporary Halling, a style unique to Norwegian music.

“Skogen’s music soars, bringing the fresh air and foot-stomping beats of Norway into the hall,” remarks Cathy Carlson, who attended several of his performances in Alaska. “Skogen’s music is an inspirational blend of old Norway and the present day… Skogen makes his fiddle sing!”

Sällström attributes being an interpreter of Ole Bull, 19th-century violinist and composer, and others, to his extensive cross training over period genres. He earned his master’s in Norwegian music from the Institute of Music at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, Norway.

With performances that include traditional style, Sällström also explores new musical possibilities with his own compositions and through performance of contemporary music. His amazing musicality spans his performances—ranging from his solo role with the Sør-Trøndelag Orchestra in Norway, to his collaboration with other musicians, to his teaching courses in Norwegian music. He has led a folk music ensemble for over two years that is currently raising funds to produce a recording. Sällström’s mission is for people to gain an appreciation of the richness of Norwegian music.

The May 1 event will be Sällström’s first appearance in Madison. For ticket info, contact the Norwegian American Genealogical Center at (608) 255-2224 or dmauer@nagcnl.org. NAGC & NL is a non-profit genealogical research library of national and international scope, serving the Norwegian-American community.

This article appeared in the April 15, 2016, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly.

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The Norwegian American

The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.