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Portrait of a Hakon Børresen

Viggo Johansen (b. 1851 – d. 1935)

Hakon Børresen (b. 1876, d. 1954) was one of the foremost Danish composers of the 20th century and close friend of Viggo Johansen.  


Børresen divided his time between Copenhagen and the artist community of Skagen, where the famed Skagen Painters gathered each summer to paint en plein air. While Skagen is often associated with the painters, musician also gathered in Skagen including Danish composers Hakon Børresen and Carl Neilsen who both had summer homes in Skagen.   Hakon Børresen and Viggo Johansen developed a strong friendship with Johansen spending much time playing piano and listening to Børresen as he composed.  

Along with his numerous symphonies, Børresen also composed ballets, operas, and chamber music for smaller instrumental groups.  His music captured his strong love of Nordic culture and history. Among his ballets is At Uranienborg – Tycho Brahe's Dream. Here, Børresen tells the story of the famed Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe. This 1924 ballet takes place at Tycho’s observatory Uranienborg, on the island of Hven, and features dancers who are stars, a comet, and the supernova of 1572.  His Symphony No. 2 A major, Op. 7 "The Ocean" (1904), is inspired by his love of the seas.  His work was part of the music event in the art competition at the 1932 Summer Olympics.

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