As promised, this week is another monthly feature on a flute composer, this time a very popular one. Joachim Andersen gave his talents to the flute repertoire, particularly his books of etudes. College students and professionals all over the world most likely have at least one of these challenging etude books.
Andersen was born in Copenhagen in 1847, the son of flutist Christian Joachim Andersen. His musical career, naturally, started quite early, and by the age of 13 he was the principal player and soloist of a local orchestra. In 1869 he became employed by the Royal Danish Orchestra as a flutist but resigned after a year of leave in 1878. He was longing for larger challenges and decided to travel abroad. His first stop was Saint Petersburg (1878-1880) where he was the principal flute of the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra. Afterwards in 1881 he went to Berlin where he was engaged as a solo flutist, as well as a member of the orchestra of the Royal German Opera. In 1882 he was a co-founder of the Berlin Philharmonic, which he and 53 other musicians formed out of the former Bilse’s Band. Along with his job as a solo flutist, he took over more and more conductor’s assignments and conducted over 8 summers one of the orchestra’s two daily concerts in Scheveningen.
In 1893 Andersen was forced to resign his job because of an illness that left his tongue partially paralyzed. At this time, he traveled back to Copenhagen where he was employed as a composer. Among other pieces, he was the composer of concerts in Tivoli Gardens. In 1897 he founded an orchestra school and was, until his death, leader and professor in conducting at the school. In 1905 he was knighted by king “Christian IX of Denmark” to the “Order of the Dannebrog.”
Andersen’s compositions are almost exclusively for the flute. His 8 volumes of etudes for flutists of the highest level are considered his largest success. They are still used all over the world when one wants to be a top professional. His complete works consist of 67 opuses which are mainly for the flute, including solo pieces and piano accompanied pieces. Some of the most popular include op. 2, Hungarian Fantasie and op. 63, Technical Etudes for Flute, as well as his op. 25 Etudes. Here is a performance of his Etude for Flute in C Major, Op. 25, No. 3.