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Johan Helmich Roman

The Swedish composer Johan Helmich Roman (born 26 October 1694; died 20 November 1758) was the son of a violinist in the Royal Opera Orchestra in Stockholm. Roman the son, who played his violin at the Royal Court from the age of seven, was employed there from the age of sixteen in the same capacity as his father. After a year or so, he was allowed to travel to complete his studies.

He played in Handel's opera orchestra in London, earning the nickname 'the Swedish virtuoso' and worked for the Duke of Newcastle, before being summoned back to Stockholm, where he was swiftly promoted to vice concertmaster and later, in 1727, to concertmaster.

In the late 1730s Roman travelled again, to England, France and Italy, meeting many of Europe's finest musicians (including, probably, Tartini). His most famous piece, the Drottningholm Music (1744) was written for the wedding of King Adolf Fredrik and Queen Lovisa Ulrika, and it was something of a swan song, written before he retired from the Swedish Royal Court.

Roman's four decades of labour laid the foundations of modern Swedish musical life.

A selection of M&V articles about Johan Helmich Roman

Record box. Swedish virtuosi - Tobias Ringborg plays music by Roman, and Keith Bramich listens

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