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Next year will mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of Armas Järnefelt, a conductor and composer active in both Finland and Sweden. The Järnefelt...

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Armas Järnefelt


Armas Järnefelt (1869-1958) was a composer and conductor. He studied under Martin Wegelius and Ferruccio Busoni in Helsinki in 1887–90, with Albert Becker in Berlin in 1890 and with Jules Massenet in Paris in 1893–04. After minor conducting posts in Germany he became conductor of the Viipuri Municipal Orchestra. Following guest engagements at the Helsinki and Stockholm opera houses and a year as director of the Helsinki Music Institute in 1906–07, he settled in Stockholm as conductor of the Royal Opera. In 1910, on his additional appointment as court conductor, he took Swedish nationality. In 1923 he became the Royal Opera’s principal conductor.

Armas Järnefelt returned to Finland as director of the Finnish National Opera, and later became conductor of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra (1942–43). He was an authoritative interpreter of Sibelius, whose wife, Aino Sibelius, was Järnefelt’s sister.

His own works are Romantic in style, often with a national or patriotic basis. They include the short but charming Berceuse and Praeludium, both for small orchestra, which became exceedingly popular for a time. He has also composed vocal music.

Other orchestral works include his symphonic poem Korsholm (1984), Suite for Small Orchestra (1895), Suite in E Flat Major (1897) and Symphonic Fantasy (1895).

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