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Classiscsonline Home » Composers » S » Schmidt, Ole



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Ole Schmidt (7/14/1928 - 3/06/2010)

Ole Schmidt is a composer, conductor, pianist, teacher, and provocateur. During a career of more than forty years he has cut a versatile figure on the Danish music scene.

Schmidt was born in Copenhagen in 1928. He started out after the war as a self-taught jazz pianist, earning money by playing in restaurants and at gymnastics classes for women. In 1948 he began to study the piano at the Royal Danish Academy of Music while continuing to play jazz, and after that he studied conducting at the same time as enrolling in what was then a newly-started composition programme at the Academy. His teachers of composition and theory included outstanding names like Vagn Holmboe, Finn Høffding, Jörgen Jersild, and Niels Viggo Bentzon.

Schmidt made his official debut as a composer in 1955, but prior to that he had made a reputation in Denmark with several works. A Piano Concerto from 1954 had been broadcast on the radio, and in the same year he was asked to write music for the Royal Danish Ballet; this led to the score Bag Tæppet (Behind the Curtain). After completing his studies in Copenhagen Ole Schmidt took private lessons in conducting with Albert Wolff, Rafael Kubelik, and Sergiu Celibidache. In the first few years after graduating he worked at the Royal Danish Opera, where he was conductor of the ballet from 1958 to 1965.

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