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Wilhelm Stenhammar

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Stockholm, Sweden (1871 – 1927)

Carl Wilhelm Eugen Stenhammar (February 7, 1871 – November 20, 1927), was a Swedish composer, conductor and pianist.

Stenhammar was born in Stockholm, Sweden, and his musical education first took place there. He then went to Berlin to further his studies in music. He became a glowing admirer of German music, particularly that of Richard Wagner and Anton Bruckner. Stenhammar himself described the style of his First Symphony in F major as “idyllic Bruckner”.[1] He subsequently sought to emancipate himself and write in a more “Nordic” style, looking to Carl Nielsen and Jean Sibelius for guidance. The latter’s Symphony No. 2, especially, had a great effect on him, leading him to change his style and refuse to refer to his First Symphony as anything but a trivial piece, while only acknowledging having written his Second Symphony in G minor.

From 1906 to 1922 he was Artistic Director and chief conductor of the Gothenburg Symphony, the first full-time professional orchestra in Sweden. In this capacity, he organized many a performance of music by contemporary Scandinavian composers. Briefly, in 1909, he held the position of director of music at Uppsala University, where he was succeeded in the following year by Hugo Alfvén.

Wilhelm Stenhammar died of a stroke at 56 years of age in Jonsered in the historic province of Västergötland.

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