Swedish composer Hugo Emil Alfvén was born on 1 May 1872 in Stockholm, where he studied at the Royal College of Music. The violin was his main instrument, and he played in the Swedish Royal Opera orchestra from 1890 until 1892. He received private composition lessons from John Lindegren and later studied conducting in Dresden.
From 1903-4 he taught composition at the Royal Conservatory in Stockholm. From 1910 until 1939 he was musical director at Uppsala University, where he directed the male voice choir Orphei Drängar. He conducted throughout Europe and appeared at various music festivals.
Along with Wilhelm Stenhammar, Alfvén became known as one of Sweden's top composers. His music is in a late Romantic style, with much programme music, often evoking Swedish landscape. He was also a talented writer and a watercolour painter.
Hugo Alfvén died at Falun on 8 May 1960, aged eighty-eight,
CD Spotlight. Very Humanistic - Geoff Pearce enjoys a Naxos set of orchestral music by Swedish composer Hugo Alfvén. 'This is a set to be savoured.'
CD Spotlight. Another Path to Modernism - John Dante Prevedini listens to an anthology of Swedish orchestral music. '... a rich expressiveness underneath the veil of subtlety and self-restraint.'
CD Spotlight. Appealing Work - Music for euphonium, heard by the late Howard Smith. '... it's the lyrical selections that reveal Frey at his finest.'
Ensemble. Silvery Tones - Maria Nockin was at the opening concert of Phoenix Chorale's 2012-13 season
CD Spotlight. Bewitching Stuff - Symphonic poems for piano duet, recommended by Howard Smith. '... evocatively and thrillingly conveyed by Goldstone and Clemmow.'