Composers / Thomas Tellefsen / Places catalog
Latin School in Trondheim
Thomas Tellefsen attended this school from 1836 to 1840. Against his parents' wishes, he left school in 1840 without taking his final exams. Instead, he decided to devote himself entirely to a pianistic career.
The school was on the ground floor of the building, with three rooms used for lessons. Around 1840, there were sixty-five boys at the school. Music and singing lessons were given by the municipal cantor, who was Thomas's father, Johan Christian Tellefsen. He was appointed to the post in 1815 and was responsible for singing in all the churches in Trondheim. His duties also included teaching singing at the Latin School.
The Latin School in Trondheim (now Trondheim Cathedral School) is the oldest institution of its kind in Norway. It is impossible to determine exactly when a school linked to Trondheim Cathedral was founded, but it is taken as certain that teaching was organised here from the 1030s. The building which housed the school in Thomas Tellefsen's day was opened as such on 29 January 1787. A first sketch was produced by the multi-talented municipal musicus Johan Daniel Berlin (1714−1807). That design was subsequently elaborated by the well-known Copenhagen architect Carl Frederik Harsdorff, in 1777−1778 (hence the building is often known as Harsdorff House).
The first floor of the school building was home to the Royal Norwegian Society of Sciences and Letters, the oldest academic institution in Norway (founded in 1760).
The Society's library was also kept here, and the composer's father was assistant librarian (from 1804) and then chief librarian (from 1825). This library, possibly the largest in Norway at the time, possessed many valuable and rare books. A smaller room adjoining the library housed an academic collection consisting of antiquities, minerals, herbaria and specimens of stuffed animals.
The Society of Sciences and Letters also had an assembly hall, which doubled as a concert hall. Thomas Tellefsen gave many concerts here, including in the summer of 1843, when he visited his family after the first year of his musical studies in Paris. During his performance, given on 3 July, he played a Fantasy on a theme from Rossini's opera Moses, a Concert Rondo by Kalkbrenner, a Fantasy by Herz and also etudes, romances and mazurkas by Kalkbrenner, Chopin and of his own composition. He gave similar recitals at the Society in 1847, 1850 and 1855.
Around 1865, the Society moved into its own premises in the eastern part of the city, yet it retained the right to convene meetings in the assembly hall of the Latin School – a tradition that has endured to this day.
Trondheim Cathedral School (Munkegata 8), built in 1787. Architect: C.F.Harsdorff. Photo: Jensen (creative commons).