Campus News

Sibelius Scholar Goss to hold public lecture UGA

Sibelius Scholar Goss to hold public lecture UGA

Athens, Ga. – Former University of Georgia student and faculty member Glenda Goss will lecture at the Hugh Hodgson School of Music on Jan. 21. Goss, a lecturer at Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, Finland, will visit UGA in support of her new book on the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius, Sibelius: A Composer’s Life and the Awakening of Finland, published in 2009 by the University of Chicago Press.The lecture, at 4 p.m. in Edge Recital Hall of the music school, is free and the public is invited to attend.

The work of Jean Sibelius (1865-1957) is known around the world, most famously in America as the music to the Christian hymn, “Be still, my soul,” which is a re-working of his composition Finlandia. Composed as a protest piece against the Russification policies of Czar Nicolas II, Finlandiaexemplifies Sibelius’ role in shaping Finland’s national identity.

“There’s something magical about Finlandia that interests many people, especially when they discover how closely associated it is with the intersection of art and politics,” Goss said recently. “What I’ve tried to do with this new biography is to show Sibelius in the larger context of Finnish history, but also European and Nordic history, and I’m happy that people have been able to connect with it.”

Goss’ journey to developing her specialty, which involved learning two distinct foreign languages, Finnish and Swedish, began at UGA as an undergraduate student. Within the Hargrett Rare Book & Manuscript Library’s collection of the papers of Olin Downes, the chief music critic of the New York Times in the 30s and 40s, Goss came across a collection of letters to Sibelius, of whom Downes was a champion. “I zeroed in on the composer that Downes was most enthusiastic about and that was Sibelius—and from there everything else blossomed for me,” Goss explained.

“We are glad to host an international scholar with such deep connections to UGA,” said Dale Monson, director of the music school. “Glenda’s relationship with colleagues here, in tandem with the impact she is having on her field, makes us extremely proud to welcome her back and have a venue to host her scholarly engagement.”

Edge Recital Hall is on the third floor of the music school. For more information, see