Fact of the Month: Sigmund in America

Sigmund Groven has travelled practically all over the world with his small companion, the harmonica. In the US Sigmund made musical history in 1990, when he became one of the few harmonica players ever to be featured at Carnegie Hall with a classical recital. Throughout the 1990s Sigmund went on to perform concerts at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC as well as major concert halls, orchestras and festivals across the country; Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Anchorage, Fairbanks, Minneapolis, New Orleans, Houston, and Dallas, where he was a soloist with the Las Colinas Symphony and the Irving Symphony in 1993. In 1991 Sigmund was even made a honorary citizen of Texas! But even before that, Sigmund performed concerts in the US in 1981, 1985, 1987 and 1988.


Sigmund with Dallas mayor Steve Bartlett in 1991.

One of the events Sigmund participated in was a 1986 TV special on KUHT, the first public television station in the United States. The Houston broadcaster offered two hours of music from an American-Norwegian music festival in Clifton, Texas. Singer-journalist Erik Bye, singer Anne Lise Gjøstøl, folk musician Sven Nyhus, Willy Andresen’s jazz orchestra and Sigmund treated the Texanians to a variety of Norwegian music, including Sigmund’s version of Leiv Sandsdalen’s Wedding march from Seljord. He also performed Bulgarian wedding dance, and of course Song of the harmonica with Erik Bye.


Sigmund and Sven Nyhus in Clifton, Texas. (Photo: NRK.)


Sigmund and Erik Bye in Clifton, Texas. (Photo: NRK.)


Sigmund in Clifton, Texas. (Photo: NRK.)

The festival was filmed by KUHT and was also shown on NRK in 1987, from where you can see the complete programme, or you can watch this extract of Sigmund’s performances.



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