Erik Jørgensen (1912-2005)

From 1928 Erik Jørgensen took private lessons with Knud Jeppesen (music theory), Rung-Keller (organ) and Anders Rachlew (piano). In 1931 he graduated as an organist from the Royal Academy of Music in Copenhagen, and the same year he started compositional studies with Finn Høffding. As a composer he debuted in 1935 with a Concerto Grosso. In 1943 Erik Jørgensen made his debut as a pianist, and in 1947-48 he graduated as a music educationist with the subjects piano, music theory and history. In the meantime he had in 1936 attended a course of direction with Hermann Scherchen in Geneva.

Between 1947 and 1982 Erik Jørgensen worked as a teacher (later as a lecturer) of music theory and history at both the Royal Institute for the Blind and the Music School for the Visually Impaired in Copenhagen. In his early works until 1943 Erik Jørgensen was inspired by Stravinsky and Bartók. At a later date studies of the musiof Schönberg led him onto dodecaphony, and his Modello per archi from 1957 remains one of the few early examples of pure dodecaphony created by a Danish composer.

Erik Jørgensen was even more inspired when he attended the ISCM Festival in 1960 and the summer course of new music in Darmstadt in 1962. On the whole he is one of the Danish composers who has most wholeheartedly embraced the trends within the international avantgarde. In this way his music from the sixties is characterized by a non-dogmatic use of dodecaphony combined with aleatoric elements. In the late sixties Erik Jørgensen's pallette also included music with a touch of quotes and collages, such as the opera Skyggen af en Drøm (the Shadow of a Dream) which received 1st Prize in the competition arranged by the Young Composers - Society for a youth opera in 1969. Another youth opera, Eventyret (the Fairytale) won the 1st Prize in 1975 in a competition arranged by the Nordic opera houses.

Erik Jørgensen's works from recent years are characterized by a recapitulation of his different ways of expression, resulting in a very personal style. This applies to, say, his symphony A Piece of Life, which had its first performance by the Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra in 1985. On this work the composer declared that it can be seen as "a synthesis of fifty years - work as a composer".