Asger Hamerik
Asger Hamerik (April 8, 1843 – July 13, 1923), was a Danish
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

 composer of classical music
Classical music
Classical music is the art music produced in, or rooted in, the traditions of Western liturgical and secular music, encompassing a broad period from roughly the 11th century to present times...


Born in Frederiksberg
Frederiksberg Kommune is a municipality on the island of Zealand in Denmark. It surrounded by the city of Copenhagen. The municipality, co-extensive with its seat, covers an area of and has a total population of 98,782 making it the smallest municipality in Denmark area-wise, the fifth most...

 (near Copenhagen
Copenhagen is the capital and largest city of Denmark, with an urban population of 1,199,224 and a metropolitan population of 1,930,260 . With the completion of the transnational Øresund Bridge in 2000, Copenhagen has become the centre of the increasingly integrating Øresund Region...

), he studied music with J.P.E. Hartmann and Niels Gade. He wrote his first pieces in his teens, including an unperformed symphony. His family were friends with Hans Christian Andersen
Hans Christian Andersen
Hans Christian Andersen was a Danish author, fairy tale writer, and poet noted for his children's stories. These include "The Steadfast Tin Soldier," "The Snow Queen," "The Little Mermaid," "Thumbelina," "The Little Match Girl," and "The Ugly Duckling."...

, with whom Hamerik would correspond regularly.

Later, he left Denmark in 1862 to study music in Munich
Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

, with Hans von Bülow
Hans von Bülow
Hans Guido Freiherr von Bülow was a German conductor, virtuoso pianist, and composer of the Romantic era. He was one of the most famous conductors of the 19th century, and his activity was critical for establishing the successes of several major composers of the time, including Richard...

, and Paris where he was a protégé of Hector Berlioz
Hector Berlioz
Hector Berlioz was a French Romantic composer, best known for his compositions Symphonie fantastique and Grande messe des morts . Berlioz made significant contributions to the modern orchestra with his Treatise on Instrumentation. He specified huge orchestral forces for some of his works; as a...

. It was in 1864 where he began using the more unmistakably Danish version of his last name, rather than Hammerich, in the swell of Danish national feeling after the Danish-Prussian war
Second War of Schleswig
The Second Schleswig War was the second military conflict as a result of the Schleswig-Holstein Question. It began on 1 February 1864, when Prussian forces crossed the border into Schleswig.Denmark fought Prussia and Austria...


He left Paris in 1869 for Italy, and then Vienna. In 1871 he was offered the post of director of the Peabody Institute
Peabody Institute
The Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University is a renowned conservatory and preparatory school located in the Mount Vernon neighborhood of Baltimore, Maryland at the corner of Charles and Monument Streets at Mount Vernon Place.-History:...

 in Baltimore, Maryland, where his influence won praise from influential visitors including Tchaikovsky and Arthur Sullivan. He composed most of his large scale concert works for the Institute's orchestra. He left his position as director of the Peabody in 1898. He eventually returned to Denmark in 1900, with his American pianist wife, born Margaret Williams, but had essentially retired. He would sit on competition boards and conduct, including his own works.

He has 41 opus numbers, including seven symphonies
A symphony is an extended musical composition in Western classical music, scored almost always for orchestra. A symphony usually contains at least one movement or episode composed according to the sonata principle...

, chamber music
Chamber music
Chamber music is a form of classical music, written for a small group of instruments which traditionally could be accommodated in a palace chamber. Most broadly, it includes any art music that is performed by a small number of performers with one performer to a part...

, four operas, five orchestral suites and popular orchestral music, much of it based on Scandinavia
Scandinavia is a cultural, historical and ethno-linguistic region in northern Europe that includes the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, characterized by their common ethno-cultural heritage and language. Modern Norway and Sweden proper are situated on the Scandinavian Peninsula,...

n folk tunes. During his lifetime he was considered the best-known Danish composer after Gade, and one that was primarily influenced by Berlioz. His Requiem was his most successful work, and the one he considered his best.

His son Ebbe Hamerik
Ebbe Hamerik
Ebbe Hamerik was a Danish composer. Born in Copenhagen, he was the son of composer Asger Hamerik. He died at the age of 52 in Kattegat....

 was a conductor and composer, and his daughter Valdis Hamerik an opera singer.

Musical style

While relatively obscure today, Hamerik was an influential teacher in the US, as the director of the Peabody in Baltimore for over a quarter of a century, and his works were performed in both the United States and Europe. The most obvious influence in his music is Berlioz - particularly his conscious choice of rooting his music in French influences, the French subtitles to his symphonies and the use of an ideé fixe. His music is often described as having a "Nordic" cast, and in letters he told friends that even though he was going to America he would always remain a Dane.

His later work incorporates influences from composers such as Paul Dukas
Paul Dukas
Paul Abraham Dukas was a French composer, critic, scholar and teacher. A studious man, of retiring personality, he was intensely self-critical, and he abandoned and destroyed many of his compositions...

 and César Franck
César Franck
César-Auguste-Jean-Guillaume-Hubert Franck was a composer, pianist, organist, and music teacher who worked in Paris during his adult life....

 and the more roving harmony and extended tonality, including movements in different keys, expanded use of vagrant chords. His Seventh Symphony has been compared with Mahler's
Gustav Mahler
Gustav Mahler was a late-Romantic Austrian composer and one of the leading conductors of his generation. He was born in the village of Kalischt, Bohemia, in what was then Austria-Hungary, now Kaliště in the Czech Republic...

 works from the same period.


  • 1860 Symphony in c minor, op. 3 (lost)
  • 1879-1880 Symphony no. 1 "Symphonie poétique" in F major, op. 29
    1. Allegro moderato ed espressivo
    2. Allegro marcato
    3. Andante con moto
    4. Allegro giusto
  • 1882-1883 Symphony no. 2 "Symphonie tragique" in c minor, op. 32
    1. Grave - Allegro non troppo e patetico
    2. Andante penitente
    3. Allegro marcato
    4. Adagio - Allegro passionato - Allegro molto vivace
  • 1883-1884 Symphony no. 3 "Symphonie lyrique" in E major, op. 33
    1. Largo - Allegro molto vivace
    2. Allegro grazioso
    3. Andante sostenuto
    4. Allegro con spirito
  • 1884-1889 Symphony no. 4 "Symphonie majestueuse" in C major, op. 35
    1. Largo - Allegro impetuoso
    2. Adagio espressivo
    3. Allegro moderato
    4. Maestoso e solenne
  • 1889-1891 Symphony no. 5 "Symphonie sérieuse" in g minor, op. 36
    1. Largo - Allegro con fuoco
    2. Adagio non troppo
    3. Scherzo allegro
    4. Grave - Allegro
  • 1897 Symphony no. 6 "Symphonie spirituelle" in G major, for string orchestra, op. 38
    1. Allegro moderato
    2. Allegro molto vivace
    3. Andante sostenuto
    4. Allegro con spirito
  • 1897 rev.1901-1906 Symphony no. 7 "Korsymfoni", for mezzo-soprano, mixed choir, and orchestra, op. 40
    1. Largo
    2. Andante sostenuto
    3. Grave

Other orchestral works

  • 1871-1872 Northern Suite no. 1 in C major, op. 22
  • 1872 Northern Suite no. 2 in g minor, op. 23
  • 1873-1874 Northern Suite no. 3 in a minor, op. 24
  • 1875 Northern Suite no. 4 in D major, op. 25
  • 1876 Northern Suite no. 5 in A major, op. 26
  • 1879 Jewish Trilogy, op. 19
  • 1912 Variations on the Folk Song "Jeg gik mig ud en sommerdag", for string orchestra and harp, op. 41

Harmony band

  • 1867 Hymne à la paix, for large band, mixed choir, two organs, and 12 harps


Completed in
1863–1865 Tovelille, op. 12
1868 Hjalmar og Ingeborg, op. 18 Ludvig Josephson
1870 La vendetta, op. 20 5 scènes 1870, Milan
Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital city of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1.3 million, while its urban area, roughly coinciding with its administrative province and the bordering Province of Monza and Brianza ,...

by the composer
1871 Den rejsende, op. 21 1871, Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

by the composer


  • 1882 Christian trilogy, for baritone, mixed choir and organ, op. 31
  • 1886-1887 Requiem
    A Requiem or Requiem Mass, also known as Mass for the dead or Mass of the dead , is a Mass celebrated for the repose of the soul or souls of one or more deceased persons, using a particular form of the Roman Missal...

    , for soloists, mixed choir, and orchestra, op. 34
    1. Requiem et Kyrie
    2. Dies irae
    3. Offertorium
    4. Sanctus
    5. Agnus Dei
  • 1900 Ave Maria, for mezzo-soprano and organ, op. 14


  • Nocturne "Da giovine regina la luna maestosa", for mezzo-soprano and orchestra
  • Ballade Roland
  • Erntetanz, voor women's choir (four voices) and orchestra, op. 37

Chamber Music

  • 1862 Piano Quintet in C minor, op. 6
  • 1878 Concert Romance, for cello and piano (or orchestra), op. 27

External links

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