Jørgen Jersild was born in Copenhagen and started to play piano at an early age. He arranged music for the school orchestra and wrote small pieces at age 12. Later on, he took lessons in music theory, piano and composition –with Poul Schierbeck among others. Prior to his studies in Musicology at the University of Copenhagen, Jersild studied with Albert Roussel in Paris. He became a teacher at the Royal Danish Academy of Music in 1943, and from 1953 to 1975 he was a Professor and lectured in aural skills, instrumentation and composition. He was known as an outstanding educator and has published a series of widely used books on solfège.
Jørgen Jersild’s music is always marked by a timbral refinement with a certain inspiration from Cesar Franck and a persistently seamless musical timing. His early works sit in the intersection between the Danish and French traditions,whose inspirations the mature Jersild synthesized into his own personal style, as can be heard in his Three Romantic Songs for Chorus (1971), for example.
His output is limited to a small handful of works: chamber music, choral music, piano music and not least a number of works for harp.
Jersild’s prizes include the title of Choral Composer of the Year in 1995 and the Carl Nielsen and Anne Marie Carl-Nielsen Honorary Grant in 1999.