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Carl Nielsen

Carl August Nielsen (June 9, 1865 - October 3, 1931) was a Danish composer. He is probably the best known composer from Denmark.

Nielsen was born in Sortelung, not far from the city of Odense. His family was relatively poor, but he was still able to learn the violin and piano as a child. He also learnt how to play brass instruments, which led to a job as a bugler in a military band[?] in Odense. He later studied violin and music theory at the Copenhagen Conservatory, but never took formal lessons in composition. Nonetheless, he began to compose. At first, he did not gain enough recognition for his works to support him and in the concert which saw the premiere of his first symphony in 1894, he had been playing in the second violin section of the orchestra, before coming forward to conduct his own piece. However, the same symphony was a great success when played in Berlin in 1896, and from then his fame grew.

He continued to play the violin at the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen until 1905, by which time he had found a publisher for his compositions. In 1916 he took a post teaching at the Royal Danish Conservatory in Copenhagen, and continued to work there until his death.

Internationally, Nielsen is best known for his six symphonies. Other well-known pieces of his are the incidental music for Oehlenschläger's drama Aladdin, the operas Saul og David and Maskarade, and the wind quintet[?]. In Denmark, everybody knows and sings the numerous songs by various poets, set to music by Carl Nielsen.

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