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Johan Halvorsen

From Academic Kids

Johan Halvorsen (15 March 18644 December 1935) was a Norwegian composer, conductor and musician.

Born in Drammen, he was an accomplished violinist from a very early age and became a prominent figure in Norwegian musical life. He received his musical education in Kristiania (Oslo) and Stockholm, and was a concertmaster in Bergen before joining the Gewandhaus Orchestra in Leipzig. There followed eight years in which he worked and studied abroad, first as a concertmaster in Aberdeen, then as a professor of music in Helsinki, and finally as a student once again, in St Petersburg, Berlin, and Liège.

Returning to Norway in 1893, he worked as conductor of the theatre orchestra at Den Nationale Scene in Bergen and of the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra. In 1899 he was appointed conductor of the orchestra at the newly-opened National Theatre in Kristiania, a position he held for 30 years until his retirement in 1929.

As well as theatre music, Halvorsen conducted performances of over 30 operas and also wrote the incidental music for more than 30 plays. Following his retirement from the theatre he finally had time to concentrate on the composition of his three great symphonies and two well-known Norwegian rhapsodies. Halvorsen's compositions were a development of the national romantic tradition exemplified by Edvard Grieg though written in a distinctive style marked by brilliant orchestration. His two best known works today are the Bojarenes inntogsmarsj (Entry March of the Boyars) and Bergensiana.

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