Denmark, 1932

Per Nørgård occupies a central place in the world of contemporary Danish music. His importance resides not only in the impressive dynamism of his music, but also in his role as teacher to an entire generation of young composers in his country. Nørgård’s many writings cover a variety of subjects, from aesthetics and the philosophy of music to music and politics, and have exerted considerable influence over cultural debates of our time. Nørgård received his musical training at Denmark’s Royal Academy, notably with Vagn Holmboe. He later studied with Nadia Boulanger (1956-57). Since the early 1960s, Nørgård’s work has been tightly bound up in his exploration of the compositional possibilities of the “infinite series.” His research has resulted in the development of similar concepts of the infinite, in the areas of rhythm and harmony, or, “hierarchical music.” Deeply rooted in these ideas, Symphony No. 3 (1972-75) frames Nørgård’s style in an accessible form. An indication of the high degree of esteem in which Nørgård is held emerges without a doubt from the commissioning of his Symphony No. 5. This work was premiered alongside performances of Sibelius’s and Nielsen’s respective fifth symphonies. Per Nørgård was awarded the Wilhelm Hansen composition prize in 2000.