May 2, 1810 - March 20, 1874
born in Copenhagen, Denmark, composed during the Romantic period
Routinely described as the Johann Strauss of Denmark, Hans Christian Lumbye was a celebrated composer and conductor of dance music and pieces for the theater. He deliberately modeled some elements of his career on that of Strauss, but ultimately he proved a bit more versatile than the Viennese master, performing major serious compositions by Danish and foreign composers.
As a child, he formally studied music in Randers and Odense, and by age 14 he was playing trumpet in a military band. In 1829 he joined the Horse Guards in Copenhagen, still continuing his music education. Ten years later he was impressed by a concert in Copenhagen by an Austrian band playing Lanner and Strauss, and within a year Lumbye had formed his own orchestra to perform similar music, billing the presentations as "Concerts à la Strauss." Like Strauss, he often played violin in front of his orchestra.
Lumbye established relationships with several theaters and pleasure-gardens, and devoted part of his time to composing for famed Danish choreographer August Bournonville at the Royal Theater. But Lumbye's greatest success began in 1843, when his orchestra opened the Tivoli Gardens; he remained music director there until 1872. Off season, he toured the Danish provinces and Europe and gained international repute as a rival to Strauss, but his fame has not held steady outside Denmark since his death. His music is periodically revived, especially on disc, and many of his 400 dance pieces prove to be well crafted and highly entertaining, if not as melodically memorable as the mature works of Johann Strauss II. Lumbye was the father of two musician sons, Carl (Christian) Lumbye (1841-1911) and Georg (August) Lumbye (1843-1922). ~ James Reel, Rovi