2010 Workshop Staff

Hardanger Fiddle Teachers

Olav Luksengård Mjelva holding Hardanger fiddle

OLAV LUKSENGÅRD MJELVA began playing violin at the age of 7, learning the local traditions of his native Røros. He spent part of his childhood in Hallingdal and when, as a student at Ole Bull Academy in Voss. he had the opportunity to select a second instrument, Hardanger fiddle and the Hallingdal tradition were a natural choice. As he says in the booklet of his solo CD, Fele / Hardingfele, Røros / Hallingdal, “Røros and Hallingdal are many miles apart and traditional music and fiddling in these two areas are dissimilar in many ways. Fiddlers in Hallingdal use the Hardanger fiddle, while Røros fiddlers use the normal violin. But there are some similarities. Playing technique in the Røros tradition involves bowing two strings at a time and using double-stops, as does playing on the Hardanger fiddle. And fiddling in both Røros and Hallingdal is energetic and characterized by a rhythmic drive.” Olav’s hardingfele playing has received a very warm welcome from fiddlers and dancers in Hallingdal. Olav makes a living as a freelance musician: he works as a session musician in studios, plays in a number of groups, teaches at workshops and plays for dances. His CD has just won a Spellemannprisen award (Norway's equivalent of the Grammys). 

VILDE AASLID, a lifelong violinist, took up the hardingfele in 2007 and has since committed herself to the study of the music and dance of Norway. Vilde studies with Loretta Kelley and has attended workshops taught by Hauk Buen and Arngunn Timenes Bell. Her focus is the Telemark and Vestland traditions. Vilde has taught violin performance, music history, and music theory for over a decade. She holds BA and MA degrees in music history from the University of Washington and has studied violin performance at The Boston Conservatory. She is currently pursuing a PhD in musicology at the University of Virginia.   

Vilde Aaslid playing Hardanger fiddle
Loretta Kelley holding Hardanger fiddle

LORETTA KELLEY has been performing, teaching and writing about the Hardanger fiddle for more than 20 years. She has appeared on Garrison Keillor's Prairie Home Companion and American Radio Company, and National Public Radio's All Things Considered and Performance Today. She is a regular teacher at the Nordic Fiddles and Feet Scandinavian music and dance camp and at the Annual Workshops of the Hardanger Fiddle Association of America, as well as at innumerable local workshops throughout the US. She has made over 20 study trips to Norway and has placed highly in many fiddle competitions there. Her playing has been featured in an hour-long radio program on Norwegian radio. 

KAREN TORKELSON SOLGÅRD began playing the old family hardingfele in the 1970s and has been active in HFAA ever since. A frequent instructor at HFAA annual workshops since 1997, she has also served as fiddle teaching coordinator. Karen studied Vestland style with Dr. Andrea Een, Valdres tradition with Olav Jørgen Hegge, and Telemark tradition with several masters, including Tarjei Romtveit, Alf Tveit, Hauk Buen, and Vidar Lande. Karen performs around the U.S. and gives workshops for fiddlers and school children. She also is a regular dance fiddler at Scandinavian dances in the Twin Cities.

Karen Solgård holding Hardanger fiddle

Dance Teachers

Ulf-Arne Johannessen and Ingunn Stræte Lie dancing

ULF-ARNE JOHANNESSEN and INGUNN STRÆTE LIE, from Ål in Hallingdal, won the King’s Cup and hardingfele couple-dance competition at the Landskappleik in 2009 for their Hallingspringar, and Ulf-Arne won the competition for laus (halling) dance. Ulf-Arne has been touring the world with the FRIKAR dance team and 2009 Eurovision Song Contest winner Alexander Rybak and in other dance and drama programs. He is a fine player of the two-row button accordion. Ingunn, who has just completed her Masters degree in folk music at the Norwegian Academy of Music, is a much-acclaimed virtuoso on the two-row and regular accordion, and a respected teacher at local dance and music programs. She works as an organizer of the annual folk music festival, Den Norske Folkemusikkveka, held in Ål.

Kveding (Traditional Norwegian Singing) Teachers

HEGE RAVDAL, whose Norwegian home is in Morgedal, Telemark, has been deeply involved with Norwegian traditional singing for some time. She has studied with Olav Sem, Aasmund Nordstoga, and Jon Anders Halvorsen both in the US and in Norway. This will be the 5th time Hege has taught kveding at the HFAA Annual Workshop; she has also taught at Nordic Fiddles & Feet Camp. Hege has written about Norwegian vocal folk music for the HFAA’s Sound Post.

Hege Ravdal

Dance Class Fiddlers

Karin Code playing Hardanger fiddle

 Dance class fiddler KARIN LOBERG CODE, who now teaches strings in Kalamazoo, Michigan, lived in Oslo for two years, studying with master fiddlers and playing for Hallinglaget (the Hallingdal dance group in Oslo) and other dance classes. She performed at the annual Folkemusikkveka in Ål in Hallingdal in 1999, 2000 and 2002. Among the numerous hallingspringar dance workshops in the USA which Karin has played for are HFAA, Scandia Camp Mendocino, and Nordic Fiddles & Feet, where, in 2002, she was the last-minute replacement for NFF's fiddler from Norway.

Rebecca Lofft playing Hardanger fiddle

 Dance class fiddler REBECCA LOFFT HAUGO’s family heritage of musicians and dancers in Norway led her from Southern California to Hallingdal. She now lives in Torpo, where she learns from the living master-musicians of the area and is often requested for local dances.  She teaches Norwegian to adult immigrants, fiddle to children through Ål Cultural School, plays with Hallingdal Låtelaget, and takes part in local and national hardingfele competitions.  Rebecca received her M.A. from Telemark University College, Rauland in 2008; her Master's thesis compared the musical styles of the springars of Hallingdal and Valdres as played on hardingfele.