Edvard Hagerup Grieg (June 15, 1843-September 4, 1907) was a Norwegian composer and pianist. His work is widely recognized as part of the standard classical international repertoire.

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Grieg was born in Bergen, Norway to Alexander Grieg and Gesine Judithe Hagerup. Grieg acquired his affinity for music from his mother, who was a piano teacher. She taught him to play the instrument by the time he was six years old. When Grieg was 15 years old, he met Norwegian violinist Ole Bull. Bull saw talent in the young Grieg and persuaded his parents to send him to the Leipzig Conservatory.

While at the conservatory, he contracted life threatening lung disease, pleurisy, and tuberculosis. This went on to affect him throughout his life by debilitating his left lung and his spine.

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Grieg's debut came in 1861, when he performed a piano concert in Karlshamn, Sweden.

After completing his studies at Leipzig, he move to Denmark in 1863. There, he met other composers J.P.E. Hartmann, Niels Gade, and Rikard Nordraak. He became particularly close to Nordraak, compose of the Norwegian national anthem, and composed a funeral march in his honor when Nordraak died in 1866.

 

After marrying his first cousin, Nina Hagerup, the two had a child, but the child died of meningitis just a year after she was born.

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In 1868, Grieg composed his Piano Concerto in A minor and it was performed by Edmund Neupert the following year at the Casino Theater in Copenhagen. Franz Liszt then wrote Grieg a testimonial, though the two had never met, in an effort to help Grieg obtain a travel grant. The two composers met in Rome in 1870 and collaborated on one of Grieg's violin sonatas.

Grieg became Music Director of the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra from 1880 to 1882.

Living off a pension from the Norwegian government, Grieg was able to record nine 78-rpm gramophone recordings in 1903.

In 1906, Grieg met Australian pianist and composer Percy Grainger, who was a great admirer of Grieg's work. Grieg was impressed with Grainger's ability to capture what he hoped to achieve in composing his Norwegian Peasant Dances.

In addition to composing many piano and string sonatas, Grieg composed the incidental music for Henrik Ibsen's play Peer Gynt and Bjornstjerne Bjornson's play Sigurd Jorsalfar.

 

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Additional Info

  • Birthday Date: Sunday, 15 June 2014
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