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“Norwegian-American Music of the Upper-Midwest: Spotlighting The LeRoy Larson Collection”

June 24, 2021 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm


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The LeRoy Larson Collection ( which can be found at the Mills  Music Library) documents the traditional dance music of Scandinavians, chiefly Norwegians, in Minnesota with some overlap into western Wisconsin and northern Iowa. LeRoy Wilbur Larson (1939-2020 ) was a musician, composer, musicologist/ethnomusicologist, folklorist, and record producer. Born in Clearwater County, Minnesota, he grew up playing old-time Scandinavian music. In the late 1960s, Larson began making field recordings of Norwegian fiddlers and accordion players, leading to his PhD dissertation, Scandinavian-American Folk Dance Music of the Norwegians in Minnesota (University of Minnesota, 1975). Larson founded the Banjar Records label in 1973, and the Minnesota Scandinavian Ensemble in 1974.

The collection includes his field recordings he made to support his dissertation, along with accompanying documentation; several folios of fiddle tunes composed or transcribed by Otto Rindlisbacher; as well as private recordings of musicians including Leonard Finseth. (courtesy U.W. Madison-Libraries)

Our speaker, Nathan D. Gibson is an ethnomusicologist, folklorist, musician, and audio preservation engineer at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He earned his Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from Indiana University with a dissertation on the performance of American roots music in Finland. He currently serves as the Ethnic American Music Curator at Mills Music Library where he is also a part of the Sustaining Scandinavian Folk Arts in the Upper Midwest initiative at UW-Madison and, of course, is also a fan of LeRoy Larson.


(photo courtesy U.W- Madison Libraries)


June 24, 2021
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm


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