Composer and conductor Launy Grøndahl was a major figure in early twentieth century Danish music both as an interpreter and as composer.
Although his musical studies began in Denmark with Anton Bloch, Ludolf Nielsen, and Axel Gade, Grøndahl traveled throughout Europe to get a greater sense of what was going on in the musical world; he studied in and visited Vienna, Italy, and Paris. Upon returning to Denmark, Grøndahl founded the Society of Young Composers there and served as its first president. In October 1925, Grøndahl was named the first director of the Danish State Radio Orchestra, which eventually evolved into the Danish National Symphony; Grøndahl was its leader and one of its main architects in an association that spanned more than three decades.
Grøndahl was a prolific composer who contributed to most genres outside of opera, although it is through his Trombone Concerto (1924) that he is known as a composer in posterity; trombone players regard it as a major work for their instrument. As a conductor, Grøndahl made authoritative recordings of the symphonies of Carl Nielsen that are of seminal importance, and although his career at the podium ended just short of the advent of stereophonic recording, Grøndahl remains considered one of Denmark's greatest conductors and a key interpreter of Nielsen.