Music and moving forward
A Message from your Editor
Lori Ann Reinhall
The Norwegian American
As I sit here and draft this message to you, I am coming off a musical high, namely at trip to Chicago to hear the Grieg Piano Concerto performed by one of the best pianists in the world, together with one of the world’s best conductors and orchestras. It is not every day that you get the opportunity to see Maestro Riccardo Muti in action with the Chicago Symphony. And then to see Leif Ove Andsnes, Norway’s most famous pianist, at the keyboard was purely magical, not to mention talking to him, one on one.
All of this came together for my very first issue as the new editor-in-chief of The Norwegian American, which, most appropriately, has a focus on music. For those of you who know me, it will come as no surprise when I say that music is an integral part of my life. In fact, I simply couldn’t imagine my life without music. It is my passion and most loyal friend. Whether I am full of energy and enthusiasm, or a bit tired and down, it is always there to lift me up. And, most of all, sharing it with others is a joy for me.
With this special edition, we are bringing a variety of feature articles to you that highlight various aspects of Norwegian music in Norway and in the United States, underlining how the two cultures interact. What is so wonderful about music is that it is a language that transcends all boundaries. Whether one listens to Grieg’s Piano Concerto in Oslo or Bergen or Chicago, its power is the same. Musicians are able to work across borders and learn from each other, bringing new enriching experiences to their audiences, both at home and abroad.
And, yes, there is a good deal of Edvard Grieg in this special edition. I unabashedly profess to be completely in love with his music, and Grieg was, after all, the starting point for the Norwegian composers who follow him. As I realized in Chicago’s Orchestra Hall last night, his appeal is both timeless and universal. It was Grieg who brought the folk music of Norway onto the world stage—and we have been listening to it ever since.
Reading through the many fine articles in this issue, I found a common thread running through them, namely, the importance of a solid musical education for our young people. I write this at time when music programs are being cut from public school curricula, both here in the United States and in Norway. But I would argue that in a time when society is evolving so quickly with so much uncertainty, music and the arts are more important than ever for our young people. We cannot take this part of cultural heritage for granted: music requires both our love and support.
As the acclaimed cellist Yo-Yo Ma has said, “If we are to hope for a society of culturally literate people, music must be a vital part of our children’s education.” I would take this one step further to say that music is a vital part of everyone’s education—children and adults alike—and that is an ongoing lifelong process.
Finally, I want to say that I am honored to be your new Editor-in-chief. With Emily’s moving on, I am stepping into big shoes, but fortunately, a talented staff of section editors and writers is there to back me up every step of the way (and we are happy that Emily is staying on as Fiction Editor). We are also very lucky to welcome Andy Meyer, our new Assistant Editor, and John Twedt, Design Editor. Together, it is our goal to continue to improve the quality of our publication for you.
Here at The Norwegian American, we share a common vision to make our newspaper a positive force in your life, as we strive to connect you to your heritage, while building bridges between Norway and the United States today. We are grateful for your support, and we hope you will find this special edition both entertaining and enriching, as you are inspired by the power of music.
Lori Ann Reinhall
The Norwegian American
This article originally appeared in the October 4, 2019, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.