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Niels Wilhelm Gade

Niels Wilhelm Gade (1817-1890), of Copenhagen, who was considered one of the most important Danish musicians of his day. After a thorough musical education Gade received in his native city, he attracted wider attention in 1841 by taking the prize for his concert overture, "Night Sounds from Ossian," the judges being Fr. Schneider and Spohr, the violinist. This gave Gade a royal stipendium, with which he immediately betook himself to study at Leipsic, where he came under the personal influence of Mendelssohn, an influence which he never outgrew.

At the death of Felix Mendelssohn he was appointed director of the Gewandhaus, the position he held only a part of one season, because he was forced to return to Copenhagen in the spring of 1848 when war broke out between Prussia and Denmark.

After the death of Gläser in 1861, Gade was made royal music director at Copenhagen, a position which he filled many years. Gade was joint director of the Copenhagen Conservatory with Hartmann] (whose daughter Gade married in 1852) and Holger Simon Paulli. An important influence on a number of later Scandinavian composers, he encouraged and taught both Edvard Grieg and Carl Nielsen, as well as lesser figures such as Otto Malling and Asger Hamerik.

He was active as composer in every direction, his published works embracing eight symphonies, five overtures, two concertos for violin and orchestra, three violin sonatas, several cantatas for mixed voices, soli and orchestra, and many other works.

The ultimate judgment of Gade as a tone-poet is likely to be that while distinctly talented, he never attained imagination of the first order.