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Oldberg, Arne, 1874-1962

 Person

Dates

  • Existence: 1874-1962

Arne Oldberg was born July 12, 1874, in Youngstown, Ohio. He joined the music faculty of Northwestern University in 1897, eventually becoming the Director of the Graduate Music Department in 1924. Oldberg possessed a consuming interest in musical composition and wrote a large number of concertos, symphonies, quartettes and quintets for piano, string, and wind instruments. Oldberg was granted an emiratus appointment in 1941 and died in 1962.

With his parents, Oscar and Emma (Parritt) Oldberg (see Northwestern University Archives Series 61/1), he moved to Chicago in 1886. At a very early age Oldberg exhibited musical talents and his father taught him to play the piano. He studied music with several piano instructors at the Gottschalk Lyric School in Chicago and in 1892 was graduated with honors. He continued his musical education for two years with Theodor Leschetizky in Vienna. On his return to his family's home, now in Evanston, Illinois, Oldberg was occupied with composing, presenting piano recitals, and teaching piano in Chicago.

He joined the music faculty of Northwestern University in 1897. Oldberg traveled to Europe again in 1898 to study composition with Joseph Rheinberger at Munich's Royal Academy of Art. In 1899 Oldberg accepted an instructorship on the faculty of the School of Music at Northwestern. Subsequent appointments at Northwestern included: Professor of Piano and Composition (1901-1941), Director of the Piano Department (1919-1941), and Director of the Graduate Music Department (1924-1941). The University awarded Oldberg with an emeritus appointment in 1941.

Oldberg possessed a consuming interest in musical composition and wrote a large number of concertos, symphonies, quartettes and quintets for piano, string, and wind instruments. As early as 1908 his compositions were performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Oldberg attained widespread recognition by many of the great orchestras of the United States. For several summers in the 1930s he was a guest professor of composition at the University of California at Los Angeles. Oldberg also taught music at Mount St. Mary's College, again in Los Angeles. One of Oldberg's compositions won first prize at a Hollywood Bowl music contest in 1931.

Oldberg married Mary Sloan on July 2, 1900. Both were honored in 1941 when the City of Evanston named a park near Northwestern's School of Music after them. When this land was used for a University building another property was named in their honor. In 1976 Northwestern University sponsored a recital and reception dedicated to Oldberg s memory. Northwestern and Evanston joined in celebrating Arne and Mary Sloan Oldberg Day on December 10, 1976, a recognition of their many contributions to the community.

The Oldbergs had five children: Eric (see Northwestern University Archives Series 55/30), Karl, Elsa, Richard, and Robert. Oldberg died in Evanston on February 18, 1962. Mary Sloan Oldberg died in Evanston in April 1968.

Found in 2 Collections and/or Records:

Arne Oldberg (1874-1962) Papers

 Collection
Identifier: 19/3/3
Abstract Oldberg joined the music faculty of Northwestern University in 1897, eventually becoming the Director of the Graduate Music Department in 1924. The Arne Oldberg Papers are arranged in seven folders and include mainly biographical materials and clippings dating between 1917 and 1976. Also included are listings of Oldberg's musical compositions (one such listing features a biographical sketch [Box 1, Folder 3]); a photocopy of an original composition, “In the Country;” and a small amount of...

Arne Oldberg music scores

 Collection
Identifier: Oldberg
Abstract Manuscripts, diazotypes, published scores, and photocopies of the compositions of the American composer Arne Oldberg (1874-1962).