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Edvard Grieg

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Bergen, Norway (1843 – 1907)

Edvard Hagerup Grieg (15 June 1843 – 4 September 1907) was a Norwegian composer and pianist who composed in the romantic period. He is best known for his Piano Concerto in A minor, for his incidental music to Henrik Ibsen’s play Peer Gynt (includes Morning Mood and In the Hall of the Mountain King), his collection of piano miniatures Lyric Pieces, as well as transcribing many Norwegian folk songs to piano which are present in his Slåtter and Peasant Dances.

Grieg was born in Bergen, Norway on 15 June 1843. His ancestors were Scottish, the original family name was spelled “Greig”. After the Battle of Culloden in 1746, his great-grandfather travelled widely, settling in Norway around 1770, and establishing business interests in Bergen. Grieg was raised in a musical home. His mother, Gesine, became his first piano teacher. He studied in several schools including Tank’s School, and often brought in examples of his music to class.

In the summer of 1858, Grieg met the eminent Norwegian violinist virtuoso Ole Bull, who was a friend of the family, and whose brother was married to Grieg’s aunt. Bull noticed the 15-year-old boy’s talent and persuaded his parents to send him to further develop his talents at the Leipzig Conservatory, then directed by Ignaz Moscheles.

Grieg enrolled in the conservatory, concentrating on the piano, and enjoyed the numerous concerts and recitals given in Leipzig. He disliked the discipline of the conservatory course of study, yet he still achieved very good grades in most areas, the exception being the organ, which was mandatory for piano students at the time.

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