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Edvard Grieg was a Norwegian composer pianist and conductor He wasborn on June 15th 1843 in Bergen to Alexander Grieg a merchant andBritish consul and Gesine Judith Grieg He was the fourth of fivechildren and was raised in the environment of a middle-class urbansociety His mother had excellent musical training and was a muchdesired in Bergen as a pianist She began to teach Edvard when he was 6years old and he soon grew attached to the works of Mozart Weber andChopin When he was fifteen he entered the Leipzig Conservatory at therecommendation of the violin virtuoso Ole Bull There his first pianoteacher was Louis Plaidy but Grieg did not like his particular methodof training and asked to be transferred His next teacher was E FWenzel who had been a close friend of Schumann Wenzel succeeded inarousing in his pupil an enthusiasm for Schumanns music that wouldnever leave him In 1860 Grieg fell ill with an attack of pleurisy which laid thefoundation for the respiratory problems that he would struggle with forthe rest of his life He left the conservatory in 1862 and the next yearsought to widen his experience in Copenhagen which was the maincultural centre of Norwegian and Danish life While there he met NielsGade who was the recognized leader of the Scandinavian Romantic schoolGade had been a friend and trusted colleague of Schumann andMendelssohn It was around this time that Grieg also met his cousinNina Hagerup a talented singer and became engaged to her the followingyear 1864 She was the particular inspiration for many of Griegsworks such as Poetiske tonebilleder Poetic Tone-Pictures for pianoop3 and Hjertets melodier The Hearts Melodies op5Until now Grieg had known nothing of Norwegian nationalist tendenciesand had scarcelyheard any genuine Norwegian folk music In the winter of 1864 howeverhe returned to Copenhagen and there met Rikard Nordraak Nordraak wasthe young man on whom the Norwegian nationalists set their chief hopefor a national school of music Through him
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