Asger Hamerik

composer
1843
1923
Asger Hamerik had a successful career as a composer, but not in Denmark. After training as a very young man with both Gade and J.P.E. Hartmann, Hamerik went to Germany, where he studied with Hans von Bülow. Even more significant were his studies in Paris with Berlioz, who continued to follow his development over the years. In 1871 Hamerik was engaged as director of the music academy the Peabody Institute in Baltimore, Maryland. For the orchestra of the Institute he wrote several of his symphonies, and he also had considerable success with his suites based on Nordic folk melodies. He returned to Denmark in 1900, but was never given a post in Danish musical life, and no longer composed after coming home. Asger Hamerik wrote seven symphonies, four operas and several major works for choir and orchestra with stylistic affinities with both Gade and Berlioz. He also composed elegant chamber music. On the whole his work is typified by a rare elegance in the handling of musical and technical features.