Svendsen, Johan Severin

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Svendsen, Johan Severin


Born Sept. 30, 1840, in Oslo; died June 14, 1911, in Copenhagen. Norwegian composer and conductor.

Svendsen began his music studies with his father. From 1863 to 1867 he attended the Leipzig Conservatory, where he studied violin under F. David and composition under M. Hauptmann, E. F. Richter, and C. Reinecke. He subsequently concertized as a violinist. From 1868 to 1870, Svendsen lived in Paris, and thereafter in Leipzig. Between 1872 and 1877 he headed a concert society in Oslo together with E. Grieg, a post he again occupied from 1880 to 1883. He served as court conductor in Copenhagen from 1883 to 1908.

Although he was influenced by German romanticism, Svendsen became one of the founders of the Norwegian national school of composition. He composed the first Norwegian symphonies, as well as symphonic rhapsodies on Norwegian themes. In his large-scale orchestral compositions, Svendsen embodied the principles of Norwegian national character and the originality of Norwegian art. His most famous orchestral compositions include the symphonic poem Zorahayda, after W. Irving, the four Rapsodies norvégiennes, Carnaval des artistes norvégiens, Carnaval à Paris, and a romance for violin and orchestra, which is particularly popular.


Lange, K., and A. Ostvedt. Norvezhskaia muzyka. Moscow, 1967. (Translated from English.)


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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