Hugo Alfvén’s life 1872-1899

Hugo Alfvén’s life

A chronology by Lennart Hedwall from “Hugo Alfvén”, Stockholm 1992

1872
Born May 1st in Stockholm, the fourth of the six children of master tailor Anders Alfvén and his wife Lotten Axelsson Puke. His parents are Baptists and his father is choir director at the Betel Chapel.
1880-talet
After his father’s death in 1881, the family is supported by his mother who, between 1882 and 1907, runs a grocery in Östermalm in Stockholm. The summers are usually spent with relatives in the Stockholm archipelago. Begins to learn the piano in 1883, but changes to the violin under former orchestral player, Louis Müller, in the following year. After only one year’s tuition, he is sent to Johan Lindberg. Accepted in the spring of 1887 as a pupil at the Music Conservatory to study under Lindberg, and also to study harmony with Aron Bergenson (until 1891). Spends the summers 1887-90 with Lindberg in Säter and Visby. Begins also to study painting with Otto Hesselbom, autumn 1887, and with Oscar Törnå (1888-90), which includes copywork at the National Museum of Art.
1888
First real attempt at composition: Two violin pieces, Souvenir de Säter and Barcarole (together with Ernst Ellberg).
1889
Appears for the first time as violinist at a charity concert at the Betel Chapel. In the autumn, is refused entry to the counterpoint and composition class at the Music Conservatory.
1890
Employed as second-violinist in the Hovkapellet (Opera orchestra) in the autumn.
1891
Begins violin studies with Lars Zetterkvist and counterpoint and composition with Johan Lindegren (both until 1897). In the autumn, deputy concert master in the Hovkapellet for Zetterkvist (until 1892).
1892
First of a series of regular public concert appearances at a choral concert in Berns saloon. Decides to abandon painting and devote himself wholly to music.
1893
First solo concert in the lecture hall of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, and a performer at several other concerts. First published composition: Visa (Song) for voice and piano.
1894
Various concerts as violinist, also during the subsequent years.
1895
Composes Sonata and Romance for violin and piano.
1896
Own concert in the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences including the violin sonata, Romance and songs. Vaggvisa (Lullaby) for voice and piano is published. Receives the state travel scholarship for composers of 1,000 Sw. Kr. (also in 1897 and 1899).Symphony No. 1.
1897
The symphony is performed at the Royal Opera. Study travels to Berlin, Paris and Brussels, where he studies the violin with César Thomson (until 1898).
1898
Violin Sonata and Drömmeri (Rêverie) for piano are published. Completes Symphony No. 2, and Elegy for horn and organ. Concert tour through the country during the autumn.
1899
Symphony No. 2 receives its first performance at the Royal Opera and is his definite break-through. Concerts and violin pupils. Publication of 10 Songs op. 4Sekelskifteskantaten (Cantata for the Turn of the Century), songs Op. 8 and  Op. 9.