Hilding Rosenberg

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Hilding Rosenberg.

Hilding Constantin Rosenberg (June 21, 1892 – May 18, 1985),[1] was the first Swedish modernist composer, and one of the most influential figures in Swedish 20th century classical music.

Life and career[edit]

Born in Bosjökloster, he was an organist (completing his examinations in 1909),[2] and as a young man a concert pianist and music teacher. In 1915 he began studying at the Stockholm Conservatory[1] under Ernst Ellberg. Later teachers included Wilhelm Stenhammar (counterpoint) and Hermann Scherchen (conducting). Stenhammar included several of Rosenberg's early works in concerts he arranged.[2] After the First World War, he toured Europe and became a prominent conductor. With a composer's stipend he went to Berlin, Vienna and Paris which included formative contacts with Schönberg and Hindemith.[2]

In 1932 he was appointed coach and assistant conductor of the Swedish Royal Opera, becoming its chief conductor two years later, although from this point composing began to take a prominent part in his life to conducting.[1]

While his earlier works display the influence of Sibelius he soon led the way for Swedish composers to move away from the late Romantic style and became considered as somewhat radical. His output covered all genres, from his 14 works for string quartet (1920–1972) and eight symphonies (1917–1974, including his symphony no. 2 Grave, symphony no. 4 Johannes Uppenbarelse, fifth symphony Örtagårdsmästaren and sixth Sinfonia Semplice) as well as Piano Concerto no. 2 to songs. He wrote a considerable body of work for the theatre (around 50 scores in total), including nine operatic works.[1]

He taught composition privately to amongst others Karl-Birger Blomdahl, Ingvar Lidholm, and Daniel Börtz. He opined that "One creates out of what has been before, out of the experiences of others, as well as those of oneself, out of everything one knows, has read, or been acquainted with".[2]

His violin concerto features as part of the sound track of the 1936 film Intermezzo. He also composed music for the 1944 Bergman film Hets (known in English as either Torment or Frenzy).

Rosenberg was Vice-President of the Royal Academy of Music from 1951, received an honorary doctorate from Uppsala University in 1951 and was an honorary member of the ISCM.[2]

He died in Stockholm.


  1. ^ a b c d Lyne Peter H. Rosenberg, Hilding (Constantin). In: The New Grove Dictionary of Opera. Macmillan, London & New York, 1997.
  2. ^ a b c d e Percy, Gösta. Leading Swedish Composers of the Twentieth Century - Hilding Rosenberg. In: Swedish music - past and present. Stockholm, Musikrevy, 1967?. OCLC Number: 585452.

External links[edit]