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  • Born

    20 December 1909

  • Born In

    Horsens, Horsens Municipality, Central Denmark Region, Denmark

  • Died

    1 September 1996 (aged 86)

Vagn Gylding Holmboe, (born 20 December 1909 in Horsens, Jutland; died 1 September 1996 in Ramløse) was a Danish composer and teacher who wrote largely in a neo-classical style.

Holmboe began studying music at the age of 17 at the Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen on the recommendation of Carl Nielsen, studying under Knud Jeppesen (Theory) and Finn Høffding (Composition). After qualifying in 1929 he studied under Ernst Toch in Berlin, then spent 1933 to 1934 in Romania where he married the Romanian pianist Meta Graf. They moved back to Denmark and Holmboe taught at the Conservatoire in Copenhagen between 1950 and 1965.

Holmboe composed about two hundred works, including thirteen symphonies, three chamber symphonies, four symphonies for strings, twenty string quartets, numerous concertos, one opera, and the late series of preludes for chamber orchestra, as well as much choral and other music, in addition to some early works that never received opus numbers. His last work, the twenty-first string quartet, Quartetto sereno, was completed by his pupil Per Nørgård.

He is considered to be the most important Danish symphonist after Carl Nielsen. His music is characteristically tonal, and musical metamorphosis of thematic or motivic fragments characterize most of his works between the years 1950 and 1970 (similar to Jean Sibelius). His earlier works show the influence of East European composers such as Béla Bartók; his work also shows the influence of Igor Stravinsky, Carl Nielsen and Dmitri Shostakovich.

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