Olav Fartein Valen (August 25, 1887 – December 14, 1952) was a Norwegian composer and musical theorist, notable for his work within atonal polyphonic music. Valen was born in Stavanger, Norway in 1887 into a deeply Christian religious family and maintained his religious beliefs all his life. His parents were missionaries, and he spent five years of his childhood in Madagascar. In addition to his aptitude for music, he was also a polyglot, mastering at least nine languages. He earned his examen artium with the highest grades in all subjects except mathematics.