Jared Jacobsen to honor Scandinavian composer on the Massey Organ

The chill of a Norwegian winter may blow through the Amphitheater during the Massey Memorial Organ mini-concert Wednesday.

The music of Edvard Grieg, arguably one of the greatest piano composers in history, will accompany that chill. At 12:15 p.m. Wednesday in the Amp, Jared Jacobsen, organist and coordinator of worship and sacred music, will play a selection of Grieg’s works. Jacobsen said he was inspired to create the program by Ruth Powell, the page-turner for the Massey Organ.

Jacobsen said Powell heard one of Grieg’s piano suites, “In Holberg’s Time,” and told Jacobsen that he had to perform it. He is thankful that Powell recommended the song, Jacobsen said, because he had fallen out of touch with the Scandinavian artist. Now, he can introduce it to Chautauquans.

“He wrote little vignettes about Norwegian things better than anybody else,” Jacobsen said.

Grieg, who was a founder of the Norwegian nationalist school of music, composed work that was reminiscent of the place and time he wrote it, which was mostly at his house in northern Norway, Jacobsen said. His piece “Morning Mood” evokes the sense of a slow sunrise in the morning, Jacobsen said, while “In the Hall of the Mountain King” is darker and richer.

Although he was concerned about transcribing Grieg’s piano compositions to the organ, Jacobsen said someone recently released an organ version that he thought would work well. Additionally, the acoustics in the new Amp will help him blur the sound.

Jacobsen said he was excited to honor Grieg because of the large Scandinavian population in Jamestown. He said Chautauqua Institution used to host a Scandinavian Day and a community organization gave scholarships to music students, one of which Jacobsen received.

“So I feel close to this music, I just haven’t done anything with it for a while,” Jacobsen said.

Tags : Edvard GriegJared JacobsenMassey Organmini-concert

The author Delaney Van Wey

Delaney Van Wey is reporting on the Interfaith Lecture Series this summer. Although she is from Gowanda, this is her first time at Chautauqua Institution. She is studying journalism and international relations at Syracuse University, where she previously worked as assistant news editor at The Daily Orange. Contact her at or on Twitter, @DelaneyVanWey.