Collection: Svendsen, Johan

Johan Svendsen
Johan Severin Svendsen (1840-1911) started off following his fathers steps as a military musician in the Norwegian capital Kristiania (Oslo). While his friend Grieg finished his studies at the famous Leipzig Conservatory at the age of 19, Svendsen had reached 23 before entering the same institution. As he shifted focus from the violin to composing and conducting he benefitted from his years as versatile practical musician, and already as a student enjoyed success with chamber works and his First Symphony. Mastery of large form and brilliant orchestration are Svendsen’s hallmarks as a composer, but already about ten years after starting in Leipzig most of what he was ever to compose was done. He continued his long career as an internationally recognized conductor based in Copenhagen. Rubbing shoulders with people like Wagner and Sarasate it was nothing provincial about Svendsen, and such was his reputation that in 1898 he was invited to become musical director of both the Metropolitan Opera and the New York Philharmonic orchestra.