Johan Halvorsen (15 March 1864, Drammen, Norway – 4 December 1935, Oslo, Norway) was a Norwegian composer, conductor and violinist.
He was an accomplished violinist from a very early age and became a prominent figure in Norwegian musical life. He received his musical education in Kristiania (now Oslo) and Stockholm, and was a concertmaster in Bergen before joining the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. He was a concertmaster in Aberdeen, Scotland, then a professor of music in Helsinki, and finally became a student once again, in St Petersburg, Leipzig (with Adolph Brodsky), Berlin (with Adolf Becker), and Liège (with César Thomson).
Returning to Norway in 1893, he worked as conductor of the theatre orchestra at Den Nationale Scene in Bergen and of the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra. He became concertmaster of the Bergen Philharmonic in 1885, and principal conductor in 1893. In 1899 he was appointed conductor of the orchestra at the newly-opened National Theatre in Kristiania, a position he held for 30 years until his retirement in 1929.
As well as theatre music, Halvorsen conducted performances of over 30 operas and also wrote the incidental music for more than 30 plays. Following his retirement from the theatre he finally had time to concentrate on the composition of his three great symphonies and two well-known Norwegian rhapsodies. Halvorsen's compositions were a development of the national romantic tradition exemplified by Edvard Grieg, though written in a distinctive style marked by brilliant orchestration. His most popular works were his three symphonies, Entry March of the Boyars, and two Norwegian Rhapsodies.
Halvorsen married Grieg's niece, and orchestrated some of his piano works, such as a funeral march which was played at Grieg's funeral.
Works for Winds
- Entry March of the Boyares (scored Barnes) (1895/1967)
- Entry March of the Boyars (arr. Fennell) (1895)
- Entry March of the Boyars (arr Laurendeau) (arr. Laurendeau) (1895/1911)
- Entry March of the Boyars (tr Oliver) (tr. and ed. Oliver)
- Festival March (arr. Eriksen) (2013)
- In Memoriam (arr. Bourgeois) (1910/2009)
- Little Masquerade Suite (arr. Bourgeois) (2010)
- March of the Hallingdal Battalion (1882)
- Masquerade Suite (arr. Noble) (1922/2010)
- Rhapsodie norvégienne Nr. 1 (orch. Nordhagen)
- Suite Ancienne (arr. Bourgeois) (2011)