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Classiscsonline Home » Composers » P » Peterson-Berger, Wilhelm



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Wilhelm Peterson-Berger (2/27/1867 - 12/03/1942)

Wilhelm Peterson-Berger was born in 1867 in Ullånger on the Ångermanland coast in northern Sweden, and spent his school years north of there on the Västerbotten coast. He inherited his musicality form his mother, his first musical experience coming as a seven-year old, while listening enraptured to his mother playing Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata one evening. Thus was born his passion for sitting at the piano, improvising and composing.

Later it would be another part of northern Sweden that he was especially drawn to: Jämtland, with its mountains bordering Norway to the west. It was there, from the house in the rustic manner he had built on the island of Frösö, that he claimed to have the world’s most beautiful view, looking out over the waters of Lake Storsjön. Completed in 1914, he called his little part of paradise Sommarhagen (‘Summer Refuge’) and in 1930 it became his permanent home. The countryside of northern Sweden remained his most important source of inspiration.

Peterson-Berger made the first, decisive, visit to Jämtland in the late summer of 1889. In the following years he spent several weeks each summer hiking in the mountains with other young outdoor-enthusiast friends, always carrying a notebook and some manuscript paper with him. He rehearsed several of his newly composed songs with these friends, thus giving their first performances in the mountain sunshine under an open sky.

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