Olsen, Ole



Norwegian critic, conductor and composer of extremely modern tendency. Born at Hammerfest. His father was a merchant by profession, but also organist of the parish church, and when Ole was only seven years old he was able to play at church. In 1865 he went to Drontheim to study engineering, but two years later he took up music under Fust Lendermann. For the next three years he spent the winter in hard study and the summer in conducting with various traveling theatrical companies; then, going to Leipsic, he studied for four years under Richter, Reinecke and Oscar Paul. On his return to Sweden in 1874 he made Christiania his home, and there established himself as a teacher of piano and a choirmaster. For several years he led the Musical Society there, and in 1884 was appointed musical director of the Second Brigade of Norwegian Infantry. In 1900 he was appointed musical director of the Military Board. In Denmark, Germany, Austria and Sweden he has conducted his own compositions, which include the grand operas, Stig Hvide, Stallo, and Lajla, for which he has written both poem and music; the elfin comedy, Svein Urad; an oratorio, Nideros; the cantatas, Ludwig Holberg, Griffenfeld, Broderbud, and the Tourist Cantata. Probably his best known works are those for orchestra, notably Aasgaardsreien, and Elf-dance, symphonic poems; a symphony in G major; and a suite for piano and orchestra.   Olsen knows his resources and writes in the broad, free style of the ultra modernists. His compositions are popular in Norway and greatly admired by those who hear them, but they nave not yet become universally known.