Hanna Hallberg-Norlind (1858−1929)


(Johanna) Hanna Beata Hallberg-Norlind was born on 14 July 1858 in Landskrona, Sweden, and died on 24 January 1929 in Lund. After passing her organ examinations in 1878 in Stockholm, she became the acting town organist for Landskrona. She continued there until 1891, taking time out during the years 1882−1885 to study at the conservatory in Leipzig. In 1891 she married Nils Peter Norlind who was a church musician in Lund, and together they started a music school there. From 1892 until 1928 she was the organist at Lund’s All Saints Church. She also worked as a singing teacher in various elementary schools as well as secondary grammar schools. From 1912 until 1916 she was director of the South Swedish music conservatory. She composed a number of solo pieces for voice as well as several choral works.


Childhood and education

Hanna Hallberg was born on 14 July 1858, to Bengt Hallberg (1824−1883), and his wife, Beata Schuwerts − the third of seven children. Hanna received a basic music education from her father and during the 1870s she studied organ in Stockholm with August Lagergren and piano with Hilda Thegerström, taking her higher level examination in 1878 at the educational institution of the Kungliga Musikaliska akademien (the Royal Swedish Academy of Music).

After passing her organ examinations, Hanna Hallberg returned to her hometown of Landskrona, becoming the acting town organist. Between 1882 and 1884, she attended the music conservatory in Leipzig for six terms altogether, studying organ with Carl Piutti, piano with Theodor Coccius and harmony, counterpoint and composition under Salomon Jadassohn. In 1883 the journal Neue Zeitschrift für Musik named Hallberg to the conservatory’s best organ student at that time.

Music positions in Landskrona 1885−1891

Hanna Hallberg returned to Landskrona in 1884, again taking up her work as the acting town organist. In 1887 she received the position of vocal teacher at Landskrona’s elementary girls’ school, becoming a colleague of Swedish author Selma Lagerlöf. In 1890 she also became the acting vocal teacher for the town’s elementary boys’ school. In 1889, she became engaged to Nils Peter Norlind (1853−1927), who was a permanent music teacher at the Folkskoleseminariet (elementary school) in Lund.

Organist and music teacher in Lund, 1891−1927

In early June 1891, Nils Peter Norlind suffered a stroke. Hanna Hallberg immediately offered to take over his duties for a time. Most urgent was the work of conductor for Lunds allmänna sångförening (Lund’s public male choir), which had two upcoming concerts during the summer. She also managed to convince the leadership of the cathedral that she was capable of taking over the duties that Norlind had taken on, partially as temporary replacement for the cathedral concert master, Wilhelm Heintze, and partly as organist for the cathedral’s ‘second worship service’.

Norlind recovered his health relatively quickly and later that year the couple were married, and together they founded a school of music under the name N.P. Norlind’s music school. That same autumn Norlind applied for and received a position as church musician in a completely new church in Lund, Allhelgonakyrkan (All Saints Church). Hanna Hallgren-Norlind, as she now called herself, came to be responsible for the organist’s duties, which she performed for 37 years, from 1981 until the summer of 1928. Norlind, on the other hand, led the church choir and, after a brief time, withdrew from the leadership of Lunds allmänna sångförening.

Hanna Hallberg-Norlind had to accept being merely a ‘serving organist’ in the Allhelgonakyrkan within the framework of her husband’s job. This was likely the case because married women at that time, and up until 1921, were still considered to have no legal standing of their own. Women were therefore, in principle, prevented from holding government positions, which included the state church, Church of Sweden (Lutheran).

During the years 1891 until 1895, Hanna Hallberg-Norlind acted as singing teacher at Lund’s elementary school for girls, which she did in parallel with her work as organist at Allhelgonakyrkan, as well as giving private lessons at the couple’s music school. In addition, she had four children: in 1895 son, Nils Wilhelm Schuwert Laurentius, in 1897 a son who died after two days, and in 1898 twins, who both died a short time after their birth.

In 1907, Hallberg-Norlind returned as singing teacher at Lund’s elementary school for girls, continuing there until 1911. In 1909 she and her husband reorganised their music school, which then became the Sydsvenska musikkonservatoriet (South Swedish music conservatory). The school was focused mainly on educating organists and professional church singers. Hanna Hallberg-Norlind taught piano and organ to female students as well as music theory. She was also the conservatory’s director from 1912 to 1916. The school competed in part with Malmö musikkonservatorium, founded in 1907 and which today is Musikhögskolan i Malmö (Malmö Academy of Music).


Hanna Hallberg-Norlind also studied compositions during her years at the conservatory in Leipzig and was able to use these skills, not least when she worked as organist, first in Landskrona and later in Lund. Very few of her compositions are extant. Those works that are preserved include the publication, Fem sånger för små och stora barn komponerade och utgivna av Hanna Hallberg-Norlind (five songs for small and big children composed and published by Hanna Hallberg-Norlind), as well as two occasional works in the form of choral songs for mixed choir, composed for, respectively, a burial service and a 50th anniversary celebration in 1916, printed in Lund the same year. Additionally, in the manuscript collection at Lund University’s library, there are four signed choral compositions for mixed choir with organ accompaniment.

The five songs, printed in Stockholm, all have melodies that are characterised by an artless sincerity. Three of them include texts by known authors: Ida Granqvist (‘Det finns en hand som vill fatta din’), Gustaf Fröding (‘I solnedgången’) and Jenny Blicher-Clausen (‘Giv mig Stilhed’). The authors of the texts to the other two songs are unknown (‘Tulles ängel’ and ‘Till vår doktor’). The piano accompaniments are simple and sensitive.

The preserved choral works were all composed for mixed choir with competently crafted 4-part movements in a simple, unornamented style, which one can sing either a cappella or with organ as instrumental support.

An obituary written shortly after Hanna Hallberg-Norlind’s death in January 1929 provides some insight into how her musical activities were perceived at the time. It stated that she had the ability to ‘create a full and rich ambience for life’s solemn occasions and infuse a fine vibrating soul into the musical language’.

Boel Lindberg © 2014
Trans. Jill Ann Johnson

Publications by the composer

Selma Lundgren, in Idun, 1911, no. 52, p. 842.
Till Anna Oom på 60-årsdagen d. 19 jan. 1918, Lund, 1918.


Anon.: Johanna Henrika Hallberg, in Idun 1891, no. 35, pp. 274−5.
Hanna Hallberg-Norlind avliden, in Lunds Dagblad, 26 januari 1929.
Begravningar, i Lunds Dagblad, 30 januari 1929.
Ekdahl, Fridolf Nath. & Axel Joh.
: Lunds stifts matrikel, Lund, 1900.
Hoffman, Freia:
Hallberg, (Beata) Johanna Hanna (Henrika Laurentia), verh. Hallberg-Norlind, Instrumentalistinnen-Lexikon, Sophie Drinker Institut, 2010.
Lindberg, Boel
: Bildning och sång − Lunds Allmänna Sångförening 90 år, in Gamla Lund Nytt, 2014 (pending publication).
Lindhjem, Anna
: Hanna Hallberg-Norlind, in Kvinnelige komponister og Musikk-skole-utgivere i Skandinavien, Fredrikstad, 1931.
Lundström, N. S.:
 Hallberg–Norlind, Beata Johanna (HANNA) Henrika Laurentia, fru, musikdirektör och organist, Lund, in N.S. Lundström (ed.), Svenska kvinnor i offentlig verksamhet: porträtt och biografier, Uppsala, 1924.
Neue Zeitschrift für Musik, 1883, p. 532.
Norlind, Nils Peter, i Sohlmans musiklexikon, vol. 4, 2nd ed., Stockholm: Sohlman, 1977, p. 751.
Norlind, Tobias
: Hanna Hallberg-Norlind, in Allmänt musiklexikon, vol. 1, 2nd ed., 1927, p. 480.
Norlind, Tobias:
Norlind, Nils Peter, in Allmänt musiklexikon, vol. 2, 2nd ed., 1928, p. 224.
Sign. HG-m: Norlind (Norlindh), släkt, in Svenskt biografiskt lexikon, vol. 27, Stockholm: Svenskt biografiskt lexikon, 1990−91.

Summary list of works

Songs (Fem sånger, and more) and works for choir.

Collected works

Five songs for small and large children composed and published by Hanna Hallberg-Norlind (I. Granquist [Granqvist], G. Fröding and J. Blicher-Clausen). Stockholm, n.d.
Hymn sung at the infant babtism in Landskrona Church. Autograph in the collection Sånger för skolan och kyrkan från ca 1880 som tillhört Johanna Hallberg, g. Norlind, Lund University Library, Special collection, n.d.
Ro för den arme, ro för den brutne, solo song (I. Granquist [Granqvist]). Lost. [Sung at a funerary celebration for Hanna Hallberg-Norlind on 29 January 1929 in Allhelgonakyrkan, Lund.]
Hymn for mixed choir with organ accompaniment. Autograph in the collection Partitur till hymner sjungna under kyrkoåret av Allhelgonakyrkans kör, Lund University Library, Special collection, n.d.
Reformation hymn for mixed choir with organ accompaniment. Autograph in the collection Partitur till hymner sjungna under kyrkoåret av Allhelgonakyrkans kör, Lund University Library, Special collection, n.d.
Wedding hymn to thebook printer Håkan Theodor Olsson's wedding on 10 June 1915 (P. Nilsson). Autograph in the collection Partitur till hymner sjungna under kyrkoåret av Allhelgonakyrkans kör, Lund University Library, Special collection.
Ej med klagan skall ditt minne firas, hymn for mixed choir sung at Colonel C.H. Norlander's funeral on 15 November 1916 (J.L.Runeberg). Malmö: Skånska litogr. a.-b., 1916.
Hymn sung at Principal Ch. Svanborg's 50 year anniversary on 20 October 1916 by Folkskoleseminariets sångkör (S. Lagerlöf), for mixed choir. Dedicated to Miss Josepha Ahnfelt in Landskrona. Malmö: Skånska litogr. a.-b., 1916. [Also arr. for male choir by N.P. Norlind.]

Works by Hanna Hallberg-Norlind

There are no works by the composer registered