nordic music politics

“Nordic Music“ – Resistance, Persecution, Collaboration, and Reintegration in Norway’s Music Life 1930-1960.


“Nordic Music Politics“ is an international research project located at the Institute for musicology, University of Muenster, and funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG). In cooperation with Ass.-Prof. Arnulf Mattes (Grieg-Center Bergen) Prof. Michael Custodis and his colleagues  examine the complex dimensions of Norwegian music life during the German Occupation 1940-45.

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Songs to Survive. Gunnar Kjeldaas‘ „Fangesongar frå Kirkenes“

In 1942 the teacher and composer Gunnar Kjeldaas was incarcerated in a Nazi-prison camp in Northern Norway. Like many of his colleagues he had refused to join the “gleichgeschaltete” new teachers’ union. During his imprisonment he turned the experience of hunger, cold and severe forced labor he and his fellow inmates had to endure into deeply moving songs. With the help of his granddaughter Anna-Ma Kjeldaas, the cantor at Hønefoss, Stein Sødal, as well as the artists Anne Wik, Benjamin Kallestein, Kristi Anna Isene and Stefan Veselka the musicological research project Nordic Music Politics reconstructed this story. In addition, the Marienschule in Münster turned these findings into an impressive concert program in June 2019 to commemorate the fate of known and unknown victims of Nazi-persecution. The documentary Songs to Survive. Gunnar Kjeldaas’ “Fangesongar frå Kirkenes”, produced by Andreas Bußmann, Michael Custodis, Adele Jakumeit, Arnulf Mattes and Ina Rupprecht and supported by many colleagues, archives and research institutions, recounts the story of this unique discovery.