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Otto Olsson

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Otto Olsson, 1879-1964

The Swedish composer Otto Olsson (1879-1964) was one of the greatest Swedish organists of his time. For nearly fifty years – until his retirement in 1956 – he was organist in Gustaf Vasa Church in Stockholm. He was also professor at the Stockholm Conservatory and responsible for the tuition of several generations of Swedish organists. He himself had studied there from 1893 to 1901. His teacher in counterpoint and composition was Joseph Dente (1838-1905), himself a pupil of Franz Berwald (1796-1868). Another Swedish composer, Emil Sjögren (1853-1918) acted as Olsson's musical mentor and secured his first publisher. Olsson started composing during his time at the conservatory. These compositions were mainly piano and organ works, but also included several chamber works, some pieces for violin and piano such as his first violin sonata and a piano quintet.

Olsson’s studies at the conservatory were completed with the composition of an orchestral symphony. Although several times awarded the state grant for composers he never went abroad to study. Otto Olsson is best known in Sweden for his choral and organ works and for the Te Deum for Choir and Orchestra composed in 1906 but his chamber music has not received equal recognition. His second string quartet was published in 1912 by Musikaliska Konstföreningen, but his third quartet was not printed until 1979, after Olsson’s death, and the two
violin sonatas have until now only been available in manuscript.

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Our Publications by Otto Olsson:
String quartet No. 2 G major
String quartet nr 3 in a-minor.
Te Deum
Two sonatas for violin and piano
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