Asger Hamerik scores
- approximately 1873-1902
- Hamerik, Asger, 1843-1923 (Person)
Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Use
10.24 Cubic Feet (1 half-size legal box, 1 small flat box, 1 file folder, 10 large flat boxes, 18 medium flat boxes)
Biographical / Historical
In 1862 his father gave him permission to pursue a career in music. He started in London but soon moved to Berlin, where he studied with Hans von Bülow. In 1864 the second Schleswig-Holstein war erupted and Hamerik left Germany. He went to Paris and, with the help of a reference from von Bülow, became a pupil of Hector Berlioz. Hamerik was based in France until Berlioz's death in 1869. On the loss of his mentor he went to Italy, where his new opera, La Vendetta, was performed in 1870. He then proceeded to Vienna, where the U.S. consul pursued him for the post of director of the Peabody Institute in 1871.
The Music Academy of the Peabody Institute made rapid progress and grew significantly under Hamerik's direction. The name of the Academy was changed to the Peabody Conservatory of Music in 1874, and within a few years it grew beyond being merely a local institution. Hamerik championed the performance of American music and regularly included works of American composers on concert programs.
At Peabody, Hamerik had a full symphony orchestra and choir and his own concert hall at his disposal, and he immediately began to exploit their potential. His achievements as conductor astonished the Americans. He often scheduled works by Danish and other Nordic composers, and wrote five successful orchestra suites based on Nordic folk tunes. Following his popular Nordic suites, Hamerik started writing symphonies in 1879, and over the next nineteen years he composed seven in all. The seventh, his Korsymfoni (Choral Symphony), Op. 40, was written in 1898, after which he terminated his appointment at the Peabody Institute and left the United States. He toured Europe for several years, conducting his own works, before finally settling down in Copenhagen with his American-born pianist wife in 1900. He composed little from 1900 until his death in 1923.