Egil Hovland - Biography

Egil Hovland

Egil Hovland (18.10.1924 - 05.02.2013) was one of Norway's most productive contemporary composers, and also, perhaps, the one whose works are most frequently performed. He has written symphonic works, concerti for various instruments, chamber music, choral works, music for children and a great number of sacred works of varying dimensions, including a church opera, church ballets and music to modern biblical plays.

He gradulated as a church musician from the Oslo Conservatoire. From 1949 till he reached the year of retirement he held the position of organist and choir-master at the Church of Glemmen in the city of Fredrikstad. He was an eager arranginger of courses and concerts and was an active member of various organizations, comittees and councils. He studied composition with Bjarne Brustad in Oslo, with Vagn Holmboe in Copenhagen, with Aaron Copland in Tanglewood (USA) and with Luigi Dallapiccola in Florence.

As a composer, he immersed himself in various styles - Norwegian Romanticism, Gregorian chant, neo-classicism, dodecaphony, aleatory and serial music - before returning to a highly simplified romanticism using elements of many different styles to express himself.

Egil Hovland took a very active part in the updating of the liturgical books of the Church of Norway, and he also contributed as a composer to the standard collections of congregational hymns, choral works and organ accompaniments used by that Church. His songs have also been adopted by various other religious communities in Norway and abroad.

He won several significant musical awards and in 1983 was made a Knight of the Royal Order of Saint Olav in recognition of his services to Norwegian music both as composer and performer.

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