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SIGFRID KARG-ELERT  

(1877 - 1933)

A chorister at the Johanniskirche in Leipzig, Sigfrid Karg had his earlier musical education there, before training to become a teacher. His father’s death in 1889 had brought financial difficulties, which led him, as an adolescent, to support himself as a freelance musician. In 1896 he entered Leipzig Conservatory. His earlier career suggested the possibility of earning a living as a solo pianist, but the encouragement of Grieg led him to further musical study and to composition. Rejecting the modernist musical tendencies that had interested him for a time, he wrote relatively little after the 1914–18 war.

Music for Organ and Harmonium

Karg-Elert, the second part of his name taken from that of his mother, is principally known for the many works that he wrote for the improved four-rank harmonium and which he performed on that instrument. Some of these formed the basis of his organ music and make not inconsiderable technical demands on a performer. Although he wrote a quantity of instrumental and vocal music, his name is today chiefly remembered by organists.

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