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JOSEPHSON, Swedish family which had emigrated from Prussia in the late 18th century.

JACOB AXEL JOSEPHSON (1818–1880), conductor, composer, and writer, was born in Stockholm, the son of Salomon Josephson, a merchant. He studied at Uppsala University and, from 1841 (the year in which he converted to Christianity) to 1844, held various conducting and teaching posts. A grant by the famous singer Jenny Lind enabled him to tour and study on the Continent from 1844 to 1847. After directing the Stockholm Harmonic Society for two years, he was appointed Director musices of Uppsala University in 1849. In the same year he founded the Uppsala Philharmonic Society, which he headed for 30 years, and in 1867, the choir of Uppsala Cathedral. From 1864 onward he lectured at the university on music history. Under his direction, the Philharmonic Society Orchestra and the cathedral choir became the foremost performing bodies in Sweden and the first to achieve there, in the 19th century, a level comparable with the major European orchestras and choirs. Josephson's writings and his publications of musical anthologies were equally influential. Among his compositions, which were mostly in the Mendelssohn-Schumann vein, the vocal works predominate, and for many of these he wrote the words himself. Some of the works for chorus and orchestra and for male chorus have remained in the Swedish repertoire until today.


MGG, incl. bibl.; Riemann-Einstein; Riemann-Gurlitt, incl. bibl.; Grove, Dict, incl. bibl.; Baker, Biog Dict (on Jacob Axel); S.L. Millner, Ernst Josephson (Eng., 1948); I. Mesterton, Vägen till försoning (Thesis, Göteborg, 1957; on Ernst); E. Blomberg, Ernst Josephson, hans liv (1951); idem, Ernst Josephsons konst (1956); Vision och Gestalt. Studier tillägnade Ragnar Josephson (1958), index.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.