Hamerik, Asger


Danish composer; born in Copenhagen; later made his home in America. Determined to study music, though his father, a professor of theology, disapproved, he applied himself with such diligence that at fifteen he produced a cantata which attracted the attention of Gade and Haberbier. He studied under these two and in 1860 under von Bulow at Berlin to perfect himself as a pianist. His inclination, however, was for composition and going to Paris he received instruction in orchestration from Berlioz, who had great confidence in him, even allowing him to take his place as director of his own productions. Partly through Berlioz, he obtained the appointment as a member of the musical jury of the Paris Exhibition. He also received a gold medal for his richly orchestrated Hymne de la Paix. From 1872 to 1898 he was the head of the musical section of the Peabody Institute at Baltimore, where he gave a series of fine symphony concerts. In 1890 he was knighted by the King of Denmark. His works consist chiefly of operas, symphonies and vocal pieces and are characterized by genuine musical humor and original orchestration. Four of his operas are Tovelille, Hjalmar and Ingeborg, La Vendetta, and Der Reisende. Noted among his productions is a requiem and two choral trilogies, one on Hebrew subjects and one on Christian.