Gunnar Berg

composer
1909
1989
A pioneer of serialist music in Denmark, Berg wrote the first Danish serial composition (a Suite for Cello) in 1950, and he was the first Danish composer to attend the famous summer courses in Darmstadt. Gunnar Berg was born to Danish-Swedish parents in Switzerland. His first teachers included Knud Jeppesen, Poul Schierbeck and Herman D. Koppel, but his meeting in his forties with composers like Honegger, Messiaen and Stockhausen made him change tack away from the classicizing style of his Danish teachers. Berg's music is at once precise and extremely expressive. His unflinching pioneering of Modernism, including his advocacy of the Modernists abroad, as well as his long stays outside Denmark (Berg lived a good deal in Paris and spend his last years in Switzerland, the country of his birth) prevented him from achieving the status in Denmark that he deserved. The same is to a certain extent true of his only pupil, Jan Maegaard.