HILLSDALE – One of America’s foremost Norwegian Harding fiddlers entertained at Davis Auditorium during two Summer String Festival concerts.
On Aug. 2, she performed solo, with her husband, David Code, and also in a trio with her husband and David Peshlakai, festival leader and cello instructor at Hillsdale College for more than 25 years.
Another concert Aug. 3 featured Karin Code playing with the students of the Summer String Festival.
Code, who has performed in Norway for more than two decades, has also competed in regional and national competitions. She has appeared on Norwegian State Radio and Radio Norway International. Her first CD “Norsk Spring Dance” is used widely throughout Norway for folk dance accompaniment. She has also performed across America at various festivals in Washington, California, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Vermont, as well as Michigan. She is also a classically trained violist and performs with the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra.
David Code is a music theory professor at Western Michigan University. He also serves as the School of Music’s associate director. He began his musical life as a viola player and has been playing Norwegian folk music since 1990 together with his wife.
The duo began by playing a traveling march, a bridal march from Nes, to introduce their music style. The dance tune in two parts is from the Western coast of Norway. They introduced each song with a short description of how the tunes are used to help celebrate at festivals and rituals, like christenings and funerals.
In addition to the hardingfele or Harding fiddle, Karin Code also played a small mouth harp that looks like a key. Her husband demonstrated a flute-type of instrument made from a willow tree branch with no finger holes. He explained the instrument is played by blowing hard and covering the end at different times to provide the limited notes.
Peshlakai noted that the summer festival has thrived with the visiting artists who were able to showcase their unique styles in the first concert and then showcase the students in pieces learned during the string festival.