Otto Olsson

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Otto Olsson

Otto Olsson (19 December 1879 – 1 September 1964) was a Swedish classical music composer.

Life and career[edit]

Otto Olsson was one of the most renowned organ virtuosos of his time. He studied organ with Lagergren and composition with Dente at the Royal Swedish Academy of Music, and then joined the faculty there, where he taught harmony (1908–24) and then organ (1924–45).[1] He was also the organist at the Gustaf Vasa Church in Stockholm. He became a member of the Swedish Royal Academy of Music in 1915.[2]

He used his strong background in counterpoint, combined with an affinity for French organ music, to develop his late Romantic style of composition. He also had an interest in earlier music and used the plainchant techniques of Gregorian chant in his Gregorianska melodier. He explored polytonality in his work, an advancement not found in other Swedish works of the time. In addition to many fine works for the organ, instrumental and choral works, his best-known work is his setting of the Te Deum, a large piece for chorus, string orchestra, harp, and organ.

As a teacher, he influenced many Swedish church musicians, and he was important in the development of church music in Sweden, which had suffered a long period of decline, having served as a member of official committees that supervised the liturgy and hymnology. He also composed Psalm settings for congregational use and wrote two instructional books, on the art of choral singing and psalm singing.[3]



  • Advents och julsånger, for mixed choir and organ (1917)
    • Advent
    • Julsång
    • Gammal julvisa
    • Davids 121 psalm
    • Nyårspsalm
    • Guds Son är fødd (bearbetning af folkvisa)
    • Det brinner en stjärna i Österland
    • Jungfru Marias lovsång
  • Gregorianska melodier (Six Gregorian Melodies), Op. 30 (1910)
  • Sex latinska hymner (Six Latin Hymns), for a cappella choir, Op. 40 (1919)
    • Psalmus CXX
    • Canticum Simeonis
    • Psalmus CX
    • Jesu dulcis memoria
    • Ave Maris Stella
    • Rex gloriose martyrum
  • Three Latin Choruses
  • Folksong arrangements and other works for male chorus


  • Miniatyrer, Op. 5 (c.1895-1900)
  • Five Canons, Op. 18 (1903-1910)
  • Suite in G, Op. 20
  • Credo Symphoniacum (1918)
  • Fantasy and Fugue on the chorale "Vi lofva dig, o store Gud", Op. 29 ("for white keys", or phrygian mode)
  • 12 orgelstycken över koralmotiv, Op. 36
  • Organ Sonata in E major, Op. 38
  • Preludium and fugue in C-sharp minor, Op. 39 (1910)
  • Variations on "Ave maris stella", Op. 42
  • 5 Trios, Op. 44 (?1911)
  • Credo symphoniacum, Op. 50 (1925)
  • Preludium and fugue in F-sharp minor, Op. 52 (1918)
  • Preludium and fugue in D-sharp minor, Op. 56 (1935)


Chamber music[edit]

  • String Quartet, Op. 10
  • String Quartet No. 2 (1906)
  • String Quartet No. 3 (1947)[5]


  1. ^ (Astrand, Grove Music Online)
  2. ^ (Slonimsky et al., p. 2657)
  3. ^ (Astrand, Grove Music Online)
  4. ^ (Astrand, Grove Music Online)
  5. ^ (Astrand, Grove Music Online)


  • Astrand, Hans. "Olsson, Otto (Emanuel)". In Deane L. Root (ed.). Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press. (subscription required)
  • Slonimsky, Nicolas; Laura Kuhn & Dennis McIntire (2001), "Olsson, Otto (Emanuel)", in Slonimsky, Nicholas (ed.), Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians, 4 (8th ed.), New York: Schirmer Books, p. 2657, ISBN 0-02-865529-X

External links[edit]