Nordic Music Days

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Nordic Music Days is a festival for new Nordic music that was founded in 1888 and has a long history of musical collaboration. It is considered one of the oldest festivals for contemporary classical music globally. What sets this festival apart is that it is organized by the composers themselves.[1]

Every year, a member of the national societies of composers takes on the responsibility of arranging the festival on behalf of the Council of Nordic Composers.


Since the mid-nineteenth century, regular song festivals have been organized, bringing together choirs from across the Nordic region. These festivals had a distinctively "national" repertoire, reflecting the desire to express each country's unique cultural identity. In 1929, a notable joint activity took place, where a choir of 1000 singers performed the Nordic cantata "Song of the North," composed collaboratively by five composers, each representing a Nordic country. These song festivals continued until the first half of the twentieth century.

The inaugural "Nordic Music Days" took place in Copenhagen in 1888, with a primary focus on instrumental and orchestral music. It served as a platform for Nordic composers to have their works performed, featuring compositions from Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and other countries in seven large-scale choral and orchestral concerts.

Subsequent festivals were held in Stockholm in 1897 and in 1919, once again in Copenhagen, where renowned conductors such as Carl Nielsen, Jean Sibelius, Wilhelm Stenhammer, and Johan Halvorsen participated. Helsinki hosted the festival for the first time in 1921, followed by Stockholm in 1927, Helsinki again in 1932, and Oslo in 1934. The Copenhagen festival in 1938 was the last one held before the outbreak of World War II.

After the war, the Nordic composers' societies united to form the Nordic Council of Composers, which assumed primary responsibility for the Nordic Music Days in 1946. Since 1948, the festival has been held biennially, rotating among the Nordic capitals. Until the 1970s, the repertoire focused exclusively on Nordic compositions. From 1974 to 1982, the festival introduced a "guest country" concept, inviting composers and works from Poland (1974), Canada (1976), the German Democratic Republic (1978), the United Kingdom (1980), and France (1982). Subsequently, the festival returned to its exclusive dedication to new Nordic music.


  1. ^ "Frontpage | Nordic Music Days". Retrieved 2023-03-10.

External links[edit]