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Grieg Song Festival

  • Mindekirken 924 East 21st Street Minneapolis, MN, 55404 United States (map)

The Edvard Grieg Society of Minnesota, a program of Norway House, has organized a series of concerts and lectures for the weekend of November 15-17, 2019. Musicians and Scholars of Edvard Grieg and his music are uniting in Minneapolis, at Mindekirken, the Norwegian Lutheran Memorial Church, to perform and discuss the work of Norway’s most influential composer.

The Mindekirken Church Choir will perform a selection of Grieg’s sacred music as a part of the Sunday Church Service in Norwegian. Tickets are not required for this performance, though we do encourage you to consider a free-will offering to the church.

Tickets for the festival are priced as follows:


$45 includes access to entire festival ($15 savings)


$20 each or $30 for two ($10 savings)

    Friday, November 15 | 7:00pm

    Saturday, November 16 | 2:00 - 5:00pm

    Saturday, November 16 | 7:00pm

part one

Friday, November 15 | 7:00 pm

Maria Jette, Soprano
Sonja Thompson, Collaborative Piano
Op. 48 and 61
Six Songs and Children’s Songs

Marla Fogderud, Soprano
Sonja Thompson, collaborative Piano
Op. 21, 39, and 58
The Fishergirl, Romances, and Norway

part two

Saturday, November 16 | 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm

2:00 pm

Krista Palmquist: “Haugtussa: the History and Analysis of Grieg’s Only Song Cycle”

3:00 pm

Melissa Holm-Johansen, Soprano

Mark Bilyeu, Collaborative Piano
Op. 25, Six Poems (“The Ibsen Songs”)

4:00 pm

Anna Hersey, Soprano
Mark Bilyeu, Collaborative Piano
Op. 67, Haugtussa

part three

Saturday, November 16 | 7:00 pm

Laura Loge, Soprano

Mark Bilyeu, Collaborative Piano
Op. 33, 12 Melodies (“The Vinje Songs”)

Alan Dunbar, Baritone
Mark Bilyeu, Collaborative Piano
Op. 44, Reminiscences from Mountain & Fjord

Festival Worship Service

Sunday, November 17 | 11:00 am

The Mindekirken Choir showcases a selection of Grieg’s sacred works
Director John DeHaan

about the artists

listed alphabetically by last name



Described as “superb partner,” pianist Mark Bilyeu passionately engages in music as a committed performer, inspiring teacher and enterprising curator. He was the only American finalist in the 2015 Das Lied Song Competition, and maintains an active performing schedule. He has served as faculty at Viterbo University and was the Visiting Artist in Vocal Coaching and Collaborative Piano at the University of Northern Iowa. He is also the Co-Founding Artistic Director of the Source Song Festival. Held in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Source is a week-long celebration of words and music which includes public concerts and masterclasses by international artists for pianists and singers, as well as a composer institute led by Libby Larsen.

Bilyeu has performed at such venues as the Grand Théâtre de Tours (France), the Schubert Club of St. Paul, the Everson Museum (New York), PianoForte Foundation, and the Belle Sylvester Recital Series of New York. He has been heard via live radio broadcast on Minnesota Public Radio with soprano Lori Phillips, and on WFMT via the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series.

He holds degrees from the Chicago College of Performing Arts and the University of Minnesota, studying with Timothy Lovelace and Chicago Symphony Orchestra pianist Mary Sauer. He has studied at the Aspen Summer Music Festival, Britten-Pears, Vancouver International Song Institute and l’Academie Françis Poulenc. Additional studies with Malcolm Martineau, Roger Vignoles and Susan Manoff.

Mark Bilyeu will perform “The Ibsen Songs” in collaboration with Melissa Holm Johansen and “Haugtussa” with Anna Hersey on Saturday afternoon (PART 2). Saturday afternoon’s ticket also includes a discussion on “Haugtussa” with Grieg scholar Krista Palmquist.

Mark Bilyeu will also perform “The Vinje Songs” with Laura Loge and “Reminiscences” with Alan Dunbar on Saturday evening (PART 3).


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Dr. Alan Dunbar, Baritone is a versatile performer, lauded for his beautiful tone and his nuanced musical and textual interpretation. His performances include world premieres of Libby Larsen’s song cycle Pharaoh Songs and Justin Merritt’s oratorio The Path, numerous productions with Madison Opera (Papageno in The Magic Flute, Schaunard in La Bohème, Bartolo in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, and Owen Hart in Dead Man Walking), bass soloist in Bach’s St. John Passion with Voices of Ascension, Dominick Argento’s The Andrée Expedition at the Ordway with the MN Source Song Festival, Barber’s Dover Beach and Othmar Schoeck’s Notturno at the Apollo Music Festival, the title role of Britten’s Noye’s Fludde at Santa Fe Opera, and recitals at the Ravinia Festival Steans Institute. Alan made his European solo recital debut at the Oslo Grieg Festival after winning the grand prize at the 2009 Grieg Festival Competition in Winter Park, FL. As a Vocal Fellow at the Tanglewood Music Festival he performed as bass soloist in Stravinsky’s Pulcinella under Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, sang the role of Zaretsky in Eugene Onegin with Renée Fleming and Peter Mattei, and collaborated with choreographer/director Mark Morris in performances with the Mark Morris Dance Group, as well as in the Stravinsky chamber opera Renard.

Alan holds a BA in music theory and composition from St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, and an MM and DM in vocal performance from Indiana University. Alan was a founding member of the Minnesota-based internationally acclaimed male chamber vocal ensemble Cantus and sang throughout North America and Europe with the ensemble from 1998-2004. He currently serves as Assistant Professor of Voice at Winona State University.

Alan Dunbar will perform “Reminiscences of Mountain and Fjord” on Saturday evening with collaborative pianist, Mark Bilyeu (PART 3). Saturday evening’s ticket also includes performances by Laura Loge with Mark Bilyeu.




Marla Fogderud, a native of North Dakota, is an active stage performer and recitalist throughout the United States and Europe. She was an apprentice artist with Des Moines Metro Opera and has performed roles with Opera Kansas, Wichita State University Opera, Fargo Moorhead Opera, and Michigan State University Opera. She has been a soloist with the Cincinnati International Chorale, Wichita Symphony, Wichita State University Orchestra, Greater Grand Forks Symphony, Michigan State University (MSU) Concert Band, MSU Philharmonic and MSU Symphony. Dr. Fogderud has appeared on the Concordia College, Moorhead, MN, Faculty Recital Series; Minnesota Public Radio Regional Artist broadcasts; North Dakota Museum of Art Summer Concert Series; Plymouth Music Series (Wichita); Nordvændt Concert Series (Minneapolis); the 2006 National Opera Association Convention and the 49th NATS National Conference (2006).

In 2009, she attended the Lotte Lehmann Akademie in Perleberg, Germany, on a full-tuition scholarship, where she worked with renowned soprano Karan Armstrong. She was invited to return to the program in 2010. A specialist in Norwegian art song, she has also appeared as a guest performer in Rolf Stang’s play Grieg, Edvard Grieg. Since 2007 she has performed a lecture recital, “Norwegian Art Song in the “Golden Age,” for multiple audiences, and developed a Norwegian song workshop first given at Augustana College, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, in 2009. International engagements include solo recitals in Hamar and Oslo, Norway, and concerts in southern France and the Brandenburg region of Germany. She performed in May 2015 at the International Grieg Songfest in Bergen, Norway, featuring at concert in the salon at Grieg’s home, Troldhaugen. She presented a lecture-recital at the May 2017 conference, “SalzBergen: Exploring the Intersection of W.A. Mozart and Edvard Grieg,” hosted by the Edvard Grieg Society of the Great Lakes, and has had repeat performances in Watertown, SD, and Fargo, ND.

She is the secretary of the Edvard Grieg Society of America and president of the Edvard Grieg Society of the Dakotas, an educational non-profit she founded in 2017. Dr. Fogderud received her D.M.A. from Michigan State University, M.M. in Voice and Opera from Wichita State University and a B.M. degree from Concordia College, Moorhead, MN. She also studied at the Norwegian National Academy of Music (Norges musikk høgskolen) in Oslo, where she worked with sopranos Ingrid Bjoner and Siff Pettersen. She is currently Assistant Professor of Voice at Northern State University, Aberdeen, South Dakota. She is also in demand as a private voice teacher, vocal adjudicator, language coach, and translator.

Marla Fogderud will perform “The Fishergirl” (Op. 21), “Romances” (Op. 39), and “Norway” (Op. 58)
with collaborative pianist Sonja Thompson on Friday evening
(PART 1). Friday evening’s ticket also includes performances by Maria Jette with Sonja Thompson.




Hailed by critics as a “force of nature,” soprano Anna Hersey enjoys performing a wide range of vocal repertoire. A native of Minnesota, Dr. Hersey has performed throughout the United States and Europe, appearing with Palm Beach Opera, Florida Chamber Orchestra, Hispanic-American Lyric Theater, Skylark Opera, The Minnesota Opera, and Theatre de la Jeune Lune (at Berkeley Repertory Theater), among others.

A noted expert on Scandinavian vocal literature and diction, Dr. Hersey was a Fulbright Scholar at the Kungliga Musikhögskolan (Royal College of Music) in Stockholm, where she collaborated with pianist Matti Hirvonen. Dr. Hersey also conducted research at Det Kongelige Danske Musikkonservatorium (Royal Danish Academy of Music) and Københavns Universitet (University of Copenhagen), thanks to a post-doctoral fellowship from the American Scandinavian Foundation.

Dr. Hersey’s articles have been published in the Journal of SingingVOICEPrints, and The Opera Journal, and her translations and transcriptions have been published by Plangere and by Carnegie Hall. Her first book, Scandinavian Song: A Guide to Swedish, Norwegian, and Danish Diction and Repertoire was released by Rowman & Littlefield in September 2016. Recent performances have been sponsored by Finlandia Foundation, American Scandinavian Foundation, Sons of Norway, The Lief Eriksson International Festival, and The Grieg Society.

An active pedagogue, Dr. Hersey completed the Vocal Pedagogy Certificate at the University of Minnesota under the tutelage of Professor Clifton Ware. She is an active member of professional organizations in her discipline, presenting regularly at regional, national, and international conferences. She is a recent alumna of the NATS Intern Program, which pairs renowned teachers of voice with talented young professionals.

Dr. Hersey holds master’s degrees in performance and musicology from the University of Minnesota and pursued advanced studies at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena, Italy. She earned a doctorate from the University of Miami, where she was a Smathers Fellow. Dr. Hersey has taught at Iowa State University, Barry University, Broward College, University of Miami, and Eastern New Mexico University. Dr. Hersey is an Assistant Professor of Voice at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. She serves as editor-in-chief of VOICEPrints, the peer-reviewed journal of the New York Singing Teachers Association, and as lecture-recitals editor for the College Music Symposium.

Anna Hersey will perform the “Haugtussa” song cycle (Op. 67) on Saturday afternoon with collaborative pianist, Mark Bilyeu (PART 2). Saturday afternoon’s ticket also includes a lecture and discussion on the “Haugtussa” cycle with Grieg scholar Krista Palmquist, and performances by Melissa Hom-Johansen with Mark Bilyeu.




Soprano Melissa Holm-Johansen is a native of Halden, Norway, and is a 1998 graduate of St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minnesota, where she graduated cum laude with a double major in vocal performance and music education. Dr. Holm-Johansen holds advanced degrees from the University of Minnesota where she was a two-year fellowship recipient of the Torske Klubben Scholarship. She performs currently with The Singers – Minnesota Choral Artists. Past performing groups include The Minnesota Beethoven Festival Chorus, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra Chorale, The Dale Warland Singers, The Oratorio Society, The Norwegian Youth Choir, and The St. Olaf Choir.

Dr. Holm-Johansen is a longtime member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) and was previously awarded the NATS Independent Teacher Award. She has a private voice studio in St. Louis Park and also gives private voice lessons to students at Prior Lake High School. She is a section leader at The House Of Hope Presbyterian Church in St. Paul and is a student of Tony-nominated Miss Melissa Hart as well as a student of Professor Jean del Santo, at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Holm-Johansen serves the Edvard Grieg Society Board and the EGS Program Committee.

Melissa Holm-Johansen will perform the “Ibsen Songs” (Op. 25) on Saturday afternoon with collaborative pianist, Mark Bilyeu (PART 2). Saturday afternoon’s ticket also includes a performance of Grieg’s only song cycle, “Haugtussa” by Anna Hersey with Mark Bilyeu, and a lecture and discussion on the cycle with Grieg scholar Krista Palmquist.




Soprano Maria Jette’s wide-ranging career has encompassed everything from early Baroque opera to world premieres, in the United States and abroad.  Her orchestral resumé includes The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, Houston, Kansas City, San Luis Obispo, Santa Rosa, Charlotte, Buffalo, Grand Rapids, Austin, Marin and San Antonio Symphonies, New York Chamber Symphony, Portland Baroque Orchestra, and Musica Angelica; plus Berkshires Opera, Roanoke Opera, Sacramento Opera, and the sadly defunct Ex Machina Antique Music Theatre in her home base of Minneapolis-St. Paul. There, she’s often heard withVocalEssence (led by conductor Philip Brunelle), Chamber Music Society of Minnesota, Minnesota Sinfonia The Schubert Club and Lyra Baroque Orchestra. 

A regular guest over many seasons at the San Luis Obispo Mozart and Oregon Bach Festivals and the Oregon Festival of American Music, she was often heard nationally over the last 20+ years of  Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion. 

An ecumenical recitalist, her programs range from songs of Grieg or Fauré through Edwardian parlor music and Latin American chamber music, liberally interspersed with Tin Pan Alley and the Great American Songbook. She’s performed her own productions of Seuss/Kapilow’s Green Eggs & Ham and Gertrude McFuzz for over 50,000 kids throughout the country, with pit bands, symphony orchestras, and even just piano and train whistle!

Maria Jette will perform “Six Songs” (Op. 48) and “Children’s Songs” (Op. 61) with collaborative pianist Sonja Thompson on Friday evening (PART 1). Friday evening’s ticket also includes performances by Marla Fogderud with Sonja Thompson.




Soprano Laura Loge has been hailed for her "luminous stage presence" and "characterful and versatile voice." Upcoming and current engagements include appearances as soprano soloist with the Thalia Symphony in songs from Greig's Peer Gynt, with the Sammamish Symphony in Beethoven's incidental music to Egmont, half of Grieg's Complete Songs with the Northwest Edvard Grieg Society and numerous Norwegian song concerts throughout the Northwest and Minnesota. Opera roles include Violetta (La Traviata), Musetta (La Bohème), Micaëla (Carmen), Mother (Hansel & Gretel), Ännchen (Der Freischütz), Lisa (La Sonnambula), La Fée (Cendrillon), Pousette (Manon) Lucy (The Telephone), Guadalena and Ninetta (La Perichole), Rosalinda (Die Fledermaus), Second Lady (Magic Flute), Goddess Diana (Iphigénie en Aulide), Suor Genovieffa (Suor Angelica) and Miss Silverpeal (The Impresario). She has performed as the soprano soloist in Mozart's Requiem, Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, Neilsen's Third Symphony, Fauré's Requiem, Grieg's Songs for Soprano and Orchestra, Schumann's Mass and Requiem, Handel's Messiah, and Verdi's Requiem. Laura specializes in Nordic art song, having performed across the United States and in Norway, including in Edvard Grieg's villa. She has produced two albums of Nordic song, including Breaking the Language Barrier: Songs in Norwegian and Danish, Composed by Foreigners and Songs and Piano Music of Edvard Grieg, Op. 33 & 66. Laura is the Artistic Director of the Mostly Nordic Chamber Music Series at the Nordic Museum and Founder and President of the Northwest Edvard Grieg Society.

Laura Loge will perform the “Vinje Songs” on Saturday evening with collaborative pianist, Mark Bilyeu (PART 3). Saturday evening’s ticket also includes performances by Alan Dunbar with Mark Bilyeu.


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Mindekirken Choir
John DeHaan, Director

Music is an integral part of the heritage at Mindekirken, the Norwegian Lutheran Memorial Church in Minneapolis.  Mindekirken's church choir sings a variety of repertoire representing the span of the Lutheran church calendar, as well as selections from classical and contemporary Norwegian choral and national song traditions.

The Mindekirken Choir is a dedicated and welcoming group of individuals who love to share their musical talents for community fellowship and worship. The choir provides meditative and worshipful music for three or four Sunday services of each month.  In addition, the choir sings for occasional special services during Lent and Advent. The choir has also presented a "Choir-Soloist Concert" that includes both choral selections and instrumental and vocal solo and chamber music in the spring.

The choir, under the direction of Dr. John DeHaan, generally performs in either Norwegian or English, though they occasionally sing pieces in other languages, including German, French, Latin, and other Scandinavian languages. During the Leiv Eriksson International Festival, which takes place every October, the choir prepares pieces in Swedish, Danish, and Icelandic, (though no prior experience in these languages is necessary to be a member!)

The Mindekirken Choir will perform selections of sacred music by Edvard Grieg as a part of the Norwegian Festival Worship Service on Sunday morning. No ticket is required, though please do consider an offering for Mindekirken, the Norwegian Lutheran Memorial Church.




Krista Palmquist has been a singer and voice teacher in the Twin Cities for over 25 years. She began singing in public at the age of five, and she decided then that she would become a professional singer. Her journey led her to earn a BA in Music from Bethel University, a MA in Music from Eastern Michigan University, and a DMA in Voice Performance at the University of Minnesota. She also performed and traveled with the Dale Warland Singers, VocalEssence, The Singers: Minnesota Choral Artists, and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra Chorale. She is on a number of choral recordings, including the Grammy-nominated recording, Walden Pond, with Dominick Argento and the Dale Warland Singers.

Her singing has taken her all around the United States, Europe, Korea, and China, and nows, she maintains her voice studios at St Joseph’s School of Music, Rogers High School, and Apple Valley High School. Having previously taught voice at colleges and universities, Krista now enjoys a bigger variety of students. She teaches everyone from children through retired seniors, and she has a deep respect for the potential of all singing voices. Krista resides in Saint Paul with her husband, two of her kids, and their beloved cat.

Krista Palmquist will lecture on and discuss Grieg’s only song cycle, “Haugtussa” on Saturday afternoon (PART 2). “Haugtussa” will be performed by Anna Hersey and Mark Bilyeu later that afternoon as part of the same ticket, as well as performances by Melissa Holm-Johansen.


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Pianist Sonja Thompson enjoys a varied professional life as educator, church musician, theater musician, conductor, coach, and performer.   In addition to maintaining an active performance schedule, she is Assistant Professor of Music and University Organist at Augsburg University, and Music Associate at Plymouth Congregational Church in Minneapolis.  Sonja has performed for local organizations such as VocalEssence, the Colonial Chamber Music Series, the Lakes Area Music Festival, Schubert Club, the Upper Midwest Flute Association, the National Flute Association, Frank Theater, Theater Latte Da, Nautilus Music Theater and Open Eye Figure Theater. She has worked with Garrison Keillor and A Prairie Home Companion, Florida Grand Opera, the Oregon Festival of American Music, Minnesota Opera and the Minnesota Orchestra, and has performed chamber music of Edvard Grieg at the Grieg Akadamiet in Bergen, Norway. Sonja has enjoyed countless delightful musical adventures with soprano Maria Jette, including performing a lot of songs by Edvard Grieg and other Nordic composers.

Sonja Thompson will perform “The Fishergirl” (Op. 21), “Romances” (Op. 39), and “Norway” (Op. 58)
with Soprano, Marla Fogderud, and “Six Songs” (Op. 48) and “Children’s Songs” (Op. 61) with Soprano Maria Jette on Friday evening
(PART 1).