Composers / Edvard Grieg / Persons catalog

Niels Gade

Niels Gade (1817–1890) – a Danish composer, conductor, violinist, organist and music teacher. One of the leading Danish composers of the nineteenth century. He first trained in violin and composition (he was a violinist with the Royal Danish Orchestra). His breakthrough as a composer came in 1840, when his concert overture Efterklange af Ossian [Echoes of Ossian] won the main prize in a composition competition organised by the Copenhagen Music Society. In 1843, he travelled on a government grant to Leipzig, where his teachers included Felix Mendelssohn. When Mendelssohn became conductor of the Gewandhaus Orchestra, Gade was appointed his assistant. After Mendelssohn’s death, Gade took over the Leipzig orchestra, but the outbreak of war between Prussia and Denmark in 1848 forced him to return to Copenhagen. As director of the Music Society, he brought about the creation of a permanent orchestra and chorus, helping to raise the standard of musical life in the Danish capital. Together withJ. P. E. Hartmann and H. S. Paulli, he directed the newly formed conservatory. He bore a considerable influence over the output of Edvard Grieg and Carl Nielsen. The core of Gade’s symphonic output consists of eight symphonies and eight overtures.


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