Niels Wilhelm Gade (22 February 1817 – 21 December 1890) is one of those rather well known composers, whose compositions and especially whose artsongs have remained unknown nonetheless.
Gade studied composition and musical theory with Andreas Berggreen, who passed along to Gade an interest in Danish folk music and literature. Gades op.1, the concert ouverture Efterklange af Ossian (“Echoes of Ossian“), was turned down for performance at the Royal Danish Orchestra. So Gade sent the music to Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy. Mendelssohn recieved the piece positively and premiered it with great succes at the Gewandhaus Orchestra in Leipzig. Mendelssohn invited Gade to become his assistent both as conductor and teacher at the Leipzig Conservatory.
He also became friends with Robert Schumann. In the spring of 1848, when war broke out between Prussia and Denmark, Gade had to return to Copenhagen. In 1866 he became the director of the new Copenhagen Academy of Music. He became of great importance for the scandinavian music as a teacher in composition. Among his pupils were Edvard Grieg, Elfrida Andrée and Carl Nielsen.