Christiansen, F. Melius (1871-1955) | University of Illinois Archives

Name: Christiansen, F. Melius (1871-1955)
Fuller Form: Christiansen, Frederick Melius

Historical Note: Frederick Melius Christiansen was born April 1, 1871 in Berger, Norway. Through his career as a conductor, composer, and arranger, he established the preeminent Lutheran a capella (unaccompanied) choral tradition in the United States. He received international fame as the founding director of the renowned St. Olaf Choir at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota which he established in 1911.  He retired from conducting the choir in 1944 and ceded the position to his son Olaf, who had joined the faculty as co-director in 1942. The ACDA of Minnesota recognizes Christiansen’s inspirational contributions to choral art by presenting an annual lifetime achievement award in choral music (the F. Melius Christiansen Lifetime Achievement Award) and through an endowment fund that was established in his name in 1996.  His legacy includes more than 250 choral arrangements published as the “St. Olaf Choir Series,” by Augsburg Publishing, beginning in 1919. His most beloved and performed works include “Beautiful Savior,” “Praise to the Lord,” and “Wake, Awake.” Sources: Minnesota Historical Soceity, American Choral Director's Association

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