Edvard Grieg was a Norwegian composer and pianist in the Romantic Era.
He was responsible for putting Norway firmly on the musical map, becoming the founder of the Norwegian Nationalist School of Music. Over time he merged traditional Norwegian melodies and harmonies into his own compositions.
Today he is Norway’s most celebrated human icon, likened to the status of George Washington in the USA. He is best known for his Piano Concerto in A Minor.
Edvard Grieg was born to Gesine Judithe Hagerup (music teacher) and Alexander Grieg (British consul, Bergen).
He was proficient at the piano from an early age due to his mother’s teaching. Greig used the piano as an escape from the people who tormented him at school.
He married his cousin Nina Hagerup in 1867, and a year later he performed his pivotal piano concerto.
Edvard and Nina often performed in concerts together. They both performed Grieg’s music for Queen Victoria and her court at a private concert in Windsor Castle.
Meeting Franz Liszt
In 1870 Grieg obtained a grant to visit Franz Liszt in Rome. On their second meeting Liszt sightread Grieg’s Piano Concerto manuscript which lead to a greatly received performance of Grieg’s Piano Concerto by Liszt (however, Grieg commented that Liszt played the first movement too quickly!).
Grieg died of heart failure at the age of sixty four after a period of prolonged illness. His funeral attracted thirty to forty thousand people and his ashes were buried in a mountain cave on his estate in Norway.