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Asger Hamerik scores

Identifier: PIMS-0047

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Scope and Contents

The Asger Hamerik scores (1873-1902) contain primarily manuscript and printed scores of his compositions. There are three series of scores: orchestral scores, opera scores, and chamber music and vocal scores. Also included is a card with a printed cartoon captioned “A Musical Soiree” and a number of small concert admission cards.


  • Creation: approximately 1864-1902


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for use at the Peabody Archives. Contact for more information.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. Researchers are responsible for determining any copyright questions. It is not necessary to seek our permission as the owner of the physical work to publish or otherwise use public domain materials that we have made available for use, unless Johns Hopkins University holds the copyright. All requests for permission to publish or perform materials in this collection must be submitted in writing to the archivist of the Arthur Friedheim Library.

Biographical / Historical

Asger Hamerik was a composer, conductor, and music teacher born in Denmark in 1843. As a teenager he received private lessons in composition from Niels Wilhelm Gade and J.P.E. Hartmann. He made his public debut as a composer at the age of sixteen, and the following year he wrote his first work for orchestra. In about 1860 he wrote his first symphony, which he left unnumbered.

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. His Requiem, op. 34, was premiered at the Institute in 1895 to mark the centennial of George Peabody's birth.

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. He often programmed works by Danish and other Nordic composers, and wrote five orchestra suites based on Nordic folk tunes. Following his popular Nordic suites, Hamerik wrote seven symphonies beginning in 1879. 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.

In 1894 Hamerik married Margaret E. Williams, a pianist and composer who had studied with Hamerik and earned a diploma from the Peabody Conservatory in 1892. After leaving Peabody in 1898, Hamerik conducted his own works on tours of Europe before residing in Copenhagen beginning in 1900. He composed little from 1900 until his death in 1923. His son Ebbe Hamerik also became a composer.


10.24 Cubic Feet (1 half-size legal box, 1 small flat box, 1 file folder, 10 large flat boxes, 18 medium flat boxes)

Language of Materials



Asger Hamerik was a Danish-born composer and conductor who was the director of Peabody Institute from 1871 to 1898. The collection includes manuscript and printed scores of Hamerik's compositions.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Brigitte Hamerik in 2005.

Related Materials

Materials related to Hamerik's works as a conductor of the Peabody Orchestra can be found in the Peabody Institute concert programs (PIRG.11.02). A collection of Ebbe Hamerik scores (PIMS.0095) is also available at the Arthur Friedheim Library Archives.


Guide to the Asger Hamerik scores
Kerri Sheehan
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Peabody Archives Repository

Peabody Institute
1 E. Mount Vernon Place
Baltimore MD 21202 USA