Niels Wilhelm Gade (February 22, 1817 - December 21, 1890) was a Danish composer, conductor, violinist, organist and teacher. He is considered the most important Danish musician of his day.
Gade was born in Copenhagen. He began his career as a violinist with the Royal Orchestra there before sending his first symphony, turned down for performance in Copenhagen, to Felix Mendelssohn. Mendelssohn received the work positively, and conducted it in Leipzig. Gade himself moved to Leipzig, teaching at the Conservatory there, working as an assistant conductor of the Gewandhaus Orchestra, and befriending Mendelssohn, who had an important influence on his music. He also became friends with Robert Schumann.
He returned to Copenhagen in the late 1840s, becoming director of the Copenhagen Musical Society (a post he retained until his death) and establishing a new orchestra and chorus. He also worked as an organist and was joint director of the Copenhagen Conservatory with Johan Peter Emilius Hartmann (whose daughter Gade married in 1852) and Holger Simon Paulli, and worked as an organist. An important influence on a number of later Scandinavian composers, he encouraged and taught both Edvard Grieg and Carl Nielsen. He died in Copenhagen.
Among Gade's works are eight symphonies, a violin concerto, chamber music, piano pieces and a number of large-scale cantatas, Comala (1846) and Elverskud (1853) amongst them, which he called "Koncertstykke". These are sometimes based on Danish folklore.