Glaser, Werner Wolf

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Composer Name


Born: April 14, 1910

Died: March 29, 2006, Västerås, Sweden

Country: Cologne, Germany

Studies: Hochschule für Musik, Cologne & Berlin, Univ. of Berlin (Ph.D. 1929)

Teachers: Paul Hindemith; Philipp Jarnach

Glaser studied piano, conducting, and composition at the Cologne Conservatory, and art history afterwards in Bonn. He finally continued his studies in composition with Paul Hindemith in Berlin, where he also took courses in psychology. From 1929 to 1931, he worked as a conductor at the Chemnitz Opera and went to Cologne in 1932 to conduct choirs. Persecuted by the Nazis due to his Jewish descent, he fled Germany for Paris in 1933. He subsequently moved to Lyngby, Denmark and lectured at the Frederiksbergs Volksmusikhochschule in Copenhagen, before escaping during the rescue of the Danish Jews to Sweden in 1943. In Sweden, he conducted the Södra Västmanlands Orkesterförbund from 1944 to 1959 and also directed the Västerås Musikskola, where his colleagues included Ivar Andrén and Gunnar Axén, until 1975. He also wrote music reviews and poems for the regional daily Vestmanlans Läns Tidning. He died in 2006 and was buried in the Jewish Cemetery in Stockholm.

Glaser left an extensive oeuvre which spanned many different genres. His tonal language revealed the influence of Hindemith, but he also developed his individual style.[1]

One of the Grand old men of Swedish music, the Västerås-based composer, teacher, and journalist Werner Wolf Glaser, has passed away just before turning 93 years old.

He was born on April 14, 1913 in Cologne. Glaser came via Denmark to Västerås during the Second World War. There, he founded the Västerås Music School in 1944. From 1944-59, Glaser was the conductor for the Southern Västmanland Orchestra Society, and was employed as a music critic by the Västmanlands Läns Tidning (VLT) from 1944.

Werner was an open and generous person, always with an open mind and a friendly word, and wrote a great number of works that in later years had somewhat of a renaissance, with several portrait concerts, recordings, and festivals devoted to his music.

Hans-Gunnar Peterson writes in Glaser’s biography at the STIM/Swedish Music web site:"In his extensive production, Glaser developed a modernistic tonal language, inspired by his background including among other things studies with Paul Hindemith. The sure melodic technique and the well-presented forms of his music showed that he had a quick inspiration, and that he had found a personal style in his craft. His rhythmic agility and elaborative techniques were driving elements for his imagination. His individual characteristics also included expressionistic attributes. He preferred to produce his expression with short, austere means rather than letting the tonal material flow over. Glaser prized highly music’s capacity to express intensity in scaled-down, controlled figures.”

Being a saxophonist, I've had the pleasure of performing / conducting a few of Glaser's works for the instrument. If you get the chance, listen to music by Glaser. It is well worth the time.[2]

Works for Percussion

Gränsområden (Borders) - Percussion Quintet; Oboe
Tale - Percussion Quintet; Saxophone
Tre sånger (Three songs) - Percussion Duo; Voice