Born near Hanover, Kuhlau settled in Denmark in 1810 as a pianist and composer, winning an important position in Danish music of the period and a reputation as a concert pianist. Much of his music was destroyed in a fire in 1832.
Kuhlau’s operas and incidental music show contemporary French and German influences in the age of Weber. His incidental music for Elverhøj (‘The Elf Hill’) was written in 1828 for royal wedding celebrations and makes use of Danish folk-melodies.
In addition to his piano quartets and violin sonatas, Kuhlau left a larger quantity of music for the flute, an instrument he himself did not play. These compositions satisfied a contemporary demand and retain a place in present flute repertoire.