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Classiscsonline Home » Composers » S » Sveinbjornsson, Sveinbjorn

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Sveinbjorn Sveinbjornsson (1847 - 1926)

Iceland’s first composer Sveinbjörnsson was born in the year of Mendelssohn’s death. He studied piano with Reinecke in Leipzig between 1872 and 1873. He was influenced by both great German composers, and at the same time, a strong Nordic element associated with folk dance is found in Sveinbjörnsson’s music.

Sveinbjörnsson’s works also betray a kinship with the music of Niels Gade, which is not surprising as Sveinbjörnsson met and auditioned for Gade in 1869 and became in due course a member of his Copenhagen choir, the Musikforeningen, until 1870. During this period he participated in performances of large works by the esteemed Danish composer, and this experience was, according to Sveinbjörnsson’s memoir fragments, invaluable and enriching for his musical development.

Sveinbjörnsson was by all accounts a precocious and musical child and also fortunate in that his well-educated parents had the means to ensure that he and his seven siblings all received intellectual stimulation from early on, including music lessons. His father, a government official and member of Parliament, brought a piano into the home in 1855, an instrument barely known in Iceland at the time, which added a new dimension to the many musical moments of his large family.




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