It was in an article in “Illustrert Nyhedsblad” (Illustrated News) in 1862 that Ole Bull first proposed the idea of a Norwegian musical academy. Ole Bull’s endeavour to create a Norwegian academy or a music conservatory in the 1860s was an honest effort to establish a seat of learning where Norwegian folk music made out the very foundation.
Ole Bull did not succeed in this, and a hundred years were to pass before another of our great musicians, Sigbjørn Bernhoft Osa, picked up the idea. In the period after 1945 higher musical education found its form in this country, with “Norges musikkhøgskole “ (Norwegian Academy of Music) as the finishing touch in 1973. All this was established without the folk music acquiring a place in any institution. In 1976 Sigbjørn Osa gathered some good friends in his home whom he thought would be able to make Ole Bull’s dream a reality. Sigbjørn was not a stickler to formalities; he appointed this group of friends as a board for the institution. In the autumn of 1977 the work was started. Today the foundation Ole Bull-Akademiet, is a unique and highly valued part of higher musical education in this country.
The Bergslien artists
The three Bergslien artists from Voss have all made their mark in Norwegian art history. Knut Bergslien (1828-1908), after his years of studies in Düsseldorf, became a teacher at Eckerberg’s school of painting in Oslo, and the school was later renamed Bergsliens malerskole, where entire generations of Norwegian artists received their training. He himself was an excellent portrait painter, and some well known paintings within Norwegian art are painted by him, such as “Birkebeinerne på ski over Filefjell fører Håkon Håkonsøn as a child to Trondhjem (1869)” (The Birkebeiner army carry the young Håkon Håkonsøn across File Mountain to Trondheim). The brother Brynjulv Bergslien (1830-1898) became one of the finest sculptors in Norway after his studies in Copenhagen. His best known works are Karl Johan on horseback in front of the Royal Palace in Oslo, and Henrik Wergeland in Studenterlunden in Oslo. Gustav Vigeland was a grateful pupil of Brynjulv Bergslien. Nils Bergslien (1852-1928) was their nephew. After studying in Oslo and München he settled in Eidfjord. Many of his works were bought by English and American tourists. Portrayal of ordinary life was his primary genre.