Ludolf Nielsen
Danish Composer, 1876 - 1939
Orchestral Works

Ludolf Nielsen was a self-taught composer, unrelated to, though contemporaneous with and overshadowed by his more famous Danish namesake Carl Nielsen. Ludolf showed interest and prowess at an early age for the violin, though his parents were farmers with no musicians in the family. As a teenager he studied violin, piano and theory at the music conservatory in Copenhagen, and began to be interested in composition. He joined the Tivoli orchestra where he established himself as a violist, which helped him nurture and perfect his orchestration capabilities for composition. He wrote most of his major works prior to World War I; the war both affected his feelings about composing as well as effectively severing his nascent contacts with Europe. He did continue to teach and conduct, and resumed composing after the war, and also worked for the Danish Broadcasting Corporation. His most successful work, the ballet Lakschmi, was actually written after the war and also performed outside of Denmark, but in general the exigencies of the interrim war years made it difficult to perform large works. All in all he wrote approximately 200 works, perhaps half lieder.