Throughout his early childhood he was tutored with a firm hand by his father, the organist Andreas Klewe. A child prodigy, he made his first appearances on the concert stage at the age of five. The strictness of his training is exemplified by the fact that he was not allowed to play anything other than the works of Johann Sebastian Bach until he was sixteen! For the next three years his musical training was undertaken by Otto Winter-Hjelm, after which he studied in Berlin under Professor Raif and the brothers Xaver and Philipp Scharwenka. In 1902 he married Berit Winderen, a student of Theresa Carreno, and made numerous concert appearances together, both in Norway and abroad. Halfdan Cleve composed five piano concertos, a violin sonata, a piano quintet, songs with orchestral accompaniment and over one hundred piano pieces.