Selim Gustaf Adolf Palmgren (16.2. 1878 Pori – 13.12. 1951 Helsinki) was a Finnish composer, pianist, and conductor.
Selim Palmgren was born in Pori, Finland. He studied at the Conservatory in Helsinki (now Sibelius Academy) from 1895 to 1899, then continued his piano studies in Berlin with Ferruccio Busoni and Konrad Ansorge. Palmgren conducted choral (like YL Male Voice Choir) and orchestral societies and made several very successful concert tours as a pianist in the principal cities of Finland and Scandinavia, appearing also as a visiting conductor. He performed also in the United States, where he taught composition at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester between 1921 and 1926. In the years 1929–1939 Palmgren worked at the Sibelius Academy as a piano lecturer and was appointed the first professor of composition in 1939. He died in Helsinki in December 1951, aged 73.
Palmgren was the first Finnish composer of piano concertos. The greater part of his work as a composer is devoted to piano (more than 300 pieces) and choral compositions. Palmgren’s a cappella repertoire for male voice choir is large and very diverse, containing some real choral gems. These nearly 120 songs provide a pretty detailed picture of Palmgren’s output for choir. He has made use of texts from more than 60 poets, the majority of them writing in Finnish or Swedish but also in German. The result is timeless music which is influenced by, among other things, Impressionism. Contemporaries called him “the Chopin of the North”.
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