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This Day in History - June 15

Composer Edvard Grieg was born.
Feature | June 15, 2017 | By Jonathan Shipley


On this day, in 1843, Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) was born. One of the leading Romantic era composers, his music is standard repertoire the world over. His compositions put the music of Norway on the world map, helping develop a national identity, much like Jean Sibelius's music did for Finland. 

The Seattle Symphony has played Grieg on numerous occasions. In 2015, Ludovic Morlot teamed up with pianist Marc-Andre Hamelin for Grieg's Piano Concerto. You can read the Encore Arts Program of that performance, here.

Some interesting Grieg facts!

He was bullied at school and did not much like his childhood. He did, however, learn to play the piano.

Meeting young composer Rikard Nordraak at the age of 20, greatly influenced Grieg. Nordraak was passionate about sagas, landscape and music of his homeland. 

He didn't like to be away from home. Though he traveled throughout Europe, he would always want to return to Norway and, specifically, to Bergen. Bergen is where he was born. Bergen is where he is buried.

Grieg's Piano Concerto was a smashing succeess. Many expected him to write another piano concerto but he never did.

He was commissioned by Henrik Ibsen to write incidental music for Ibsen's Peer Gynt. The music is now one of Grieg's most enduring works.

Upon his death, his music was considered old-fashioned. The French composers of the early 20th century, however, appreciated it widely and Grieg continues to leave his mark on the classical music world.

His piano concerto:

Peer Gynt:

A string quartet: