The Faroe Islands are an archipelago of small islands between the Norwegian Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean whose inhabitants share cultural and linguistic ties to Ireland, Scotland, Norway and Denmark.
Two musicians are making their way from the Faroe Islands to Tucson and will present a concert at the Arizona Senior Academy at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday (April 19). Violinist Monika Stauss Joensen and classical guitarist Olavur Jakobsen are being brought to the U.S. by longtime friend and mentor Frederic Balazs, the Hungarian-born violinist, composer, and former conductor of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra.
Their unusual program features two pieces specifically scored for violin and guitar: Paganini’s “Cantabile” and Giuliani’s “Duo Concertant.” Also on the program are violin/guitar arrangements by Jakobsen including Scandinavian folk-inspired music, Hungarian Czardas, American banjo/fiddle music, and a piece by Beethoven originally scored for mandolin and harpsichord. Two solo selections include a violin piece by Balazs, originally written for Stauss Joensen, and a South American-inspired guitar piece by Leo Brouwer.
Swiss-born Monika Stauss Joensen is currently on the faculty of the Faroese School of Music. She first performed with Frederic Balazs in 1998 at the annual Faroese summer festival of contemporary and classical music. Balazs has since dedicated several compositions to her.
In his early years, Faroese guitarist Olavur Jakobsen was influenced by the likes of Chet Atkins, Django Reinhardt and Jimi Hendrix. But after hearing Andres Segovia, he took up serious study of classical guitar at the Royal Danish Academy of Music. He now divides his time between performing, teaching and promoting Faroese music.
Written by Leslie Nitzberg, Academy Village Volunteer