Theater and Music Departments Present a New Adaptation of Ibsen’s ‘Peer Gynt’


Photo courtesy of Andrew Pederson

Jeremiah Schultz

The Concordia University Chicago theater and music departments have collaborated to put on a joint production of Henrik Ibsen’s famous 19th century play Peer Gynt, with music composed by Edvard Grieg, on Thursday and Friday.

Peer Gynt tells the story of Peer, an irresponsible everyman who squanders away his life making fortunes, losing fortunes, and chasing women throughout.

The play was adapted by music professor Maurice Boyer, D.M.A., and English professor Andrew Pederson, M.F.A., from a massive five-act, forty-scene epic into a more palatable and concise performance lasting roughly 90 minutes.

“This goes back a good many years, to when I first discovered the incidental music Edvard Grieg wrote,” said Boyer. 

Grieg’s score for Peer Gynt features famous tunes such as “In the Hall of the Mountain King,” and “Morning Mood,” which have been used in numerous movies and TV shows, including The Social Network and Mad Men.

Boyer worked on the music and text of Peer Gynt for a long time, even writing his own translation of the vocal movements and action of the play. Earlier this year, Boyer called on Pederson to help collaborate.

“We turned it into this hybrid which is neither a straight play nor a concert,” said Boyer. “The music is on equal footing with the play.”

Boyer and Pederson’s adaptation focuses on the spiritual and merciful aspects of the play. Pederson promised that the audience is “going to see a story of redemption.”

“What excites me the most is getting to work with Dr. Boyer in this capacity,” said Pederson. “He’s a brilliant conductor and musician who’s always had a deep respect for theater.”

CUC’s production of Peer Gynt features an orchestra conducted by Boyer and student actors portraying the roles under Pederson’s direction. 

The combined departments performed their first two shows last week. November 10th and 11th are the last two days to see this unique performance in Bergman Theater, at 7:45 p.m. 

Seating is limited to 100 people per show. Students should have received an email from Pederson with a Sign-Up Genius link for the productions, however, all the spots are filled for the final two shows.