Norwegian composer, conductor and violinist Johan Svendsen was born in what now is Oslo on 30 September 1840. He studied composition with Carl Reinecke at the Leipzig Conservatory, and was a contemporary and close friend of Edvard Grieg.
Known for his skill in orchestration, Svendsen's best known piece is the 1881 Romance for Violin and Orchestra, Op 26, but he also wrote two symphonies, violin and cello concerti and several Norwegian Rhapsodies for orchestra. His early fame rests on his string chamber music, written whilst at Leipzig.
For over half of his life, Svendsen lived in Copenhagen, where he was principal conductor of Det Kongelige Kapel (the Royal Danish Orchestra).
Svendsen died in Copenhagen on 14 June 1911, aged seventy.
A selection of M&V articles about Johan Svendsen
CD Spotlight. Brilliantly Performed - Music by Halvorsen, Nielsen and Svendsen impresses Gerald Fenech. 'Henning Kraggerud's technical brilliance lends a balanced fluidity to all three works, and each is allowed to betray all the enterprising orchestral colours hidden within each score.'