Selection from "Peer Gynt"
Grieg was born was born in Bergen, Norway on June 15, 1843. His mother was an amateur pianist and began to teach Edvard when he was six. Grieg was considered a lazy and indifferent pupil in school, and his compositions were ignored. However, his parents continued to encourage his work, and when he was 15 years old, they sent him to the Leipzig Conservatory.
Grieg graduated from the Conservatory in 1862 with the highest honors, and soon afterward, he established his home in Copenhagen. He met two musicians, Niels Gade and Rikard Nordraak, who had an influence on his nationalistic style. His first composition in this style was Humoresque for piano, op. 6, which he finished in 1865. In 1866, Grieg arranged a concert entirely devoted to Norwegian music, and its success established his reputation. In 1867, he married Nina Hagerup. They had one daughter, but she died when only 13 months old.
One of Grieg's most famous works was Piano Concerto in A minor, which was performed in Copenhagen in 1869. Another of Grieg's universally acclaimed compositions was the music for Henrik Ibsen's play Peer Gynt. Grieg composed 22 pieces for the play, which was performed in 1876.
In 1874, Grieg was given a pension by the Norwegian government so he could concentrate on composition. During this time he completed several masterpieces, including the Norwegian Dances, the G minor String Quartet, and the A minor Cello Sonata. In 1888, Grieg was acclaimed in London during a concert of his compositions. He was elected to the French Academy of Arts in 1890, and in 1894, he received an honorary doctorate from Cambridge. In 1906, Grieg made his last public appearance in London. On his return to Bergen, he suffered a heart attack, and he died in his sleep on September 4, 1907.
Grieg's compositions have a distinct lyrical quality. They are gentle, often whimsical, and full of expression. He is remembered for his Lyric Pieces, which include 66 compositions, as well as his orchestral and piano compositions.
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