Dialogues between student and master about music, learning, teaching, the healing power of art, and the art of life itself.
Knut Hamre has devoted his life to playing the Hardanger fiddle—a unique folk violin with resonating strings beneath, like a sitar’s—and to teaching new generations the secrets of this ancient music, rooted in a stark and beautiful land. Benedicte Maurseth is one of his most accomplished students, an internationally known artist who has recorded for the ECM label. In a book that brings to mind such classics as Zen and the Art of Archery and Wabi Sabi, the student and her master together explore the quest for excellence and originality in the heart of a living tradition.
At once mystical and practical, To Be Nothing is a series of dialogues about music, learning, teaching, the healing power of art, and the art of life itself. With photographs evoking the rugged landscapes and people from which this music springs and the exquisite beauty of the fiddles themselves, this is a work as serene as a fjord, and as deep.
Benedicte Maurseth is a Norwegian folk musician, composer, and writer. She began her study of the Hardanger fiddle with Knut Hamre at the age of eight. She has toured in Norway and internationally, and has made several recordings on Grappa and ECM. In 2017 she was awarded the NOPA Music Prize for her outstanding contribution to the Norwegian music scene.
David Rothenberg is the Series Editor of Terra Nova Books and is distinguished professor of philosophy and music at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He is the author of many books investigating music in nature, including Why Birds Sing, Survival of the Beautiful, and Bug Music: How Insects Gave Us Rhythm and Noise. His writings have been translated into more than eleven languages and among his twenty one music CDs is One Dark Night I Left My Silent House, on ECM.
Terra Nova Books aim to show how environmental issues have cultural and artistic components, in addition to the scientific and political. Combining essays, reportage, fiction, art, and poetry, Terra Nova Books reveal the complex and paradoxical ways the natural and the human are continually redefining each other.