Known for his composition of marches for wind bands, including 60 marches for military bands, 275 songs, and 170 arrangements.
His enrollment at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm was sponsored by the Crown Prince of Sweden, who would become King Oscar II of Sweden.
His best-known marches are "Kong Haakon VIIs Honnørmarsj" from 1905, "Kronprins Olavs Honnørmarsj," "Den Norske Løve" from 1894, and "Norsk Turnermarsj" from 1886.
He married Emilie Göthilda Brunstedt in 1874 and Marie Gribsrud in 1906; he fathered 12 children, three of whom passed prematurely.
He and Edvard Munch both became renowned Norwegian artists.