THE BACKGROUND AND EMERGENCE OF GEHRMANS
Gehrmans Musikförlag is one of the leading independent music publishers in Scandinavia. The joint-stock company was founded in 1893 by Carl Gehrman.
It can be traced back to 1802
The origins of the publishing house go all the way back to the pioneering era of Swedish music publishers and sheet music retailers in the beginning of the nineteenth century. Musikaliska Magazinet was established as a music shop in 1802 by Pär Aron Borg and started publishing activities in 1804. During the following decades the company changed owners a number of times and had various names, among others G.A. Östergrens Musikhandel, Östergrens Musik- och Bokhandel, Östergren & Hirsch, and Abr. Hirsch Officin.
In 1874 Julius Bagge purchased the music shop and expanded it to include his own publishing business. Carl Gehrman took over the enterprise in 1892 and in the following year it became a joint-stock company. It mainly dealt with genres popular at the time, including salon music, hit songs and choral music. Also the publishing activities of Abr. Hirsch were eventually incorporated into Gehrmans.
New owners and a wider range of activities
In 1930 Gehrmans was bought up by Inge and Einar Rosenborg. Aside from popular music, orchestral music was given a central place in the enterprise. A number of Sweden´s foremost composers were associated with the publishing house, and consequently many works that are now considered classics in the Swedish orchestral repertoire, such as Lars-Erik Larsson´s A God in Disguise and Pastoral Suite, Hugo Alfvén´s Gustav II Adolf Suite and Dag Wirén´s Serenade for String Orchestra, were brought out there.
Choral music was an important part of the publishing house´s repertoire. This included many choral works that are still sung today, such as Alfvén´s arrangements of Swedish folk songs, Wilhelm Stenhammar´s Three Songs for Chorus and Wilhelm Peterson-Berger´s ”Spring Came One Walpurgis Night”.
Long-term and stable ownership
Gerhmans managed to avoid being bought up, a fate that befell many other music publishers. To create a long-term and stable ownership Mr. and Mrs. Rosenborg in 1950 established a foundation which went in as principal owner. The house´s profile had evolved to mainly dealing with choral, chamber and orchestral music. During the 1950s they also started to publish a great deal of music-pedagogical literature – here Carl-Bertil Agnestig was a prominent name.
Expanded catalogue of choral music
In 1999 the operations and catalogues of Gehrmans and Sweden´s Choral Union´s Publishers were merged. The two major choral catalogues in Sweden were thus collected under one and the same roof. Also music by composers such as Ivar Widéen, Otto Olsson, Gottfrid Berg, Bengt Hallberg and Georg Riedel was added to Gehrmans´ catalogue.
Acquisitions from Warner/Chappell 2007
In 2007 Gehrmans acquired Warner/Chappell Music Scandinavia´s orchestral, chamber and choral music catalogues, including Nordiska Musikförlaget´s repertoire. This comprised works by Allan Pettersson, Eduard Tubin, Ingvar Lidholm, Sven-David Sandström, Anders Eliasson et al.
The Finnish part of the Warner catalogue (Warner/Chappell Music Finland, Edition Fazer) was acquired at the same time by Gehrmans´ Finnish subsidiary Fennica Gehrman OY Ab, which also publishes new works by the leading Finnish composers.
Subsidiary company in Finland
Fennica Gehrman OY Ab, in which Gehrmans is the majority owner, was established in 2002. The company´s roots extend back to 1897 when Fazer Music was founded by Konrad Georg Fazer. The company came to influence the musical life of Finland by making available most of what was needed to play and listen to music. The company took the responsibility for the publication of Finnish art music through Edition Fazer. Among the earlier composers were Jean Sibelius, Erkki Melartin, Selim Palmgren, Armas Järnefelt and Oskar Merikanto. Composers who came later included Leevi Madetoja, Yrjö Kilpinen and Einojuhani Rautavaara. During the 1990s Fazer also came to publish Estonian composers such as Veljo Tormis and Erkki-Sven Tüür.
In 1993 Fazor Music was acquired by Warner Music Group, which in 2002 started collaborating with Gehrmans Musikförlag on the catalogue with classical music. Fennica Gehrman was formed in order to handle the Finnish part in the best way possible. At the same time as Gehrmans acquired the Warner catalogue, Fennica Gehrman took over the Finnish section.
Fennica Gehrman publishes works by leading contemporary Finnish composers such as Kalevi Aho, Mikko Heiniö and Olli Kortekangas.
Pedagogical material is an important branch in Gehrmans´ publishing activities. During the 1950s the publication of Carl-Bertil Agnestig´s instrumental teaching resources meant a vital development for the publishing house. Over the last few years Åse Söderqvist-Spering´s collections and pedagogical methods for piano have had a great influence on music instruction in Sweden. Their offering for sale has increased in 2015 due to the acquisition of the publisher Lutfisken, which has brought out instrumental teaching resources and material for schools and preschools.
A leading music publisher
Gehrmans´ profile - choral, chamber and orchestral music, together with music-pedagogical material – has been retained and reinforced over the years. Gehrmans represents today many of Sweden´s foremost composers and music pedagogues. The list includes, among others, Erland von Koch, Daniel Börtz, Rolf Martinsson, Hans Eklund, Fredrik Högberg, Maurice Karkoff, Thomas Jennefelt, Ingvar Lidholm, Nils Lindberg, Karin Rehnqvist, Sven-David Sandström, Benjamin Staern, Albert Schnelzer and Marie Samuelsson.
Inge and Einar Rosenborg´s Foundation for Swedish Music
By the end of the 1920s Carl Gehrman had phased out the publication of new works. Gehrmans Musikförlag was sold in 1930 to Mr. and Mrs. Rosenborg, who later set up a foundation that is still today the principal owner of the publishing house. The foundation also awards grants to talented people in music.