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Classiscsonline Home » Composers » R » Roman, Johan Helmich



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Johan Helmich Roman (10/26/1694 - 11/20/1758)

In Swedish music history, the importance of Johan Helmich Roman cannot be overestimated. Being the first native Swedish composer of international importance, conductor of the royal orchestra, violinist and oboist, concert organiser, music teacher, theorist and linguist, he was the man who, through thirty years of hard work (1721–1751), laid the foundation of modern musical life in Sweden.

The son of a royal violinist, he was trained from an early age in music. When only seven years old, he performed at court, playing the violin, and was probably an unpaid member of the royal orchestra before his official employment in 1711. In 1712 King Charles XII decided that ‘the musician Rohman Jr. for some years may go abroad to perfect himself in music’. Roman stayed in England for almost five years, from November 1715 to summer 1721, played second violin in Handel’s orchestra, The Academy of Music, and made himself known as ‘the Swedish Virtuoso’. The composers he encountered, including Bononcini, Geminiani and Veracini, were of decisive importance for his artistic development.

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