Edvard Grieg is widely considered one of the main Romantic era composers, and is one of the most important composers to have emerged out of Norway. Born in Bergen, Grieg studied music from a young age, having his first lessons from his mother at the age of six. When he was 15, Grieg met the eminent Norwegian violinist Ole Bull, who persuaded Grieg’s parents to send him to the Leipzig Conservatory to further his musical education. Here, he concentrated on piano, but was ultimately dissatisfied with the discipline of conservatoire study.
Grieg became slowly well-known throughout Europe through his travels as a concert pianist. He was acquainted with a number of composers, including Franz Liszt, who, having never met Grieg before, wrote to the Norwegian Ministry of Education and recommended that he be given a travel grant. The two eventually met in Rome, and shared expertise on composing and orchestration. Grieg’s music frequently quotes from Norwegian folk music, and played an important part in the creation of a Norwegian national identity (Norway became independent from Sweden in 1905).