Best Known For
German Romantic composer, pianist and conductor Felix Mendelssohn wrote Overture to a Midsummer Night's Dream and founded the Leipzig Conservatory of Music.
Think you know about Biography?
Answer questions and see how you rank against other players.Play Now
Felix Mendelssohn was born on February 3, 1809, in Hamburg, Germany. At age 9, he made his public debut in Berlin. In 1819, he joined the Singakademie music academy and began composing non-stop. At Singakademie, he also became a conductor, but continued to compose prolifically. Mendelssohn founded the Leipzig Conservatory of Music in 1843. He died on November 4, 1847, in Leipzig.
"People often complain that music is too ambiguous, that what they should think when they hear it is so unclear, whereas everyone understands words. With me, it is exactly the opposite, and not only with regard to an entire speech but also with individual words."
"Though everything else may appear shallow and repulsive, even the smallest task in music is so absorbing, and carries us so far away from town, country, earth, and all worldly things, that it is truly a blessed gift of God."
"Ever since I began to compose, I have remained true to my starting principle: not to write a page because no matter what public, or what pretty girl wanted it to be thus or thus; but to write solely as I myself thought best, and as it gave me pleasure."
Pianist, composer and conductor Felix Mendelssohn was born Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy in Hamburg, Germany, on February 3, 1809. His parents were Jewish, but converted to Christianity before he, his brother and two sisters were born. When Mendelssohn was 2 years old, he moved to Berlin with his parents and siblings. In Berlin, the young Mendelssohn began taking piano lessons with Ludwig Berger. Mendelssohn also studied composition under composer K.F. Zelter as a child. In 1816, he broadened his lessons, studying under pianist Marie Bigot during an extended stay in Paris, France.
Mendelssohn was quick to establish himself as a musical prodigy. During his childhood, he composed five operas and 11 symphonies. At just 9 years old, he made his public debut in Berlin.
In 1819, Felix Mendelssohn joined the Singakademie music academy and began composing non-stop. In 1820 alone, he wrote a violin sonata, two piano sonatas, multiple songs, a cantata, a brief opera and a male quartet. In 1826, Mendelssohn produced one of his best known works, Overture to a Midsummer Night's Dream. He presented his only opera, The Marriage of the Camacho, the following year in Berlin.
At Singakademie, Mendelssohn also became a conductor. In 1829, he conducted a performance of Bach's St. Matthew Passion. The performance's success led to other great opportunities, including a chance to conduct the London Philharmonic Society that same year.
Mendelssohn continued to compose prolifically while working as a conductor. He wrote the Reformation Symphony in 1830, and followed that accomplishment with a three-year European tour. During that time, he published his first book of songs, entitled Songs without Words (1832). Italian Symphony (1833), another of Mendelssohn's best known works, was also born of this period. In 1835, Mendelssohn was granted an illustrious role: conductor of the Gewandhaus Orchestra in Leipzig.
In 1836, a year after his father died, Mendelssohn met Cécile Jeanrenaud, a clergyman's daughter, in Frankfurt. Mendelssohn was 10 years Jeanrenaud's senior. She was just 16 when they got engaged. The couple married on March 28, 1837. Over the course of their marriage, they had five children.
The same year that he married, Mendelssohn composed his Piano Concerto No. 2 in D Minor. From 1838 to 1844, he toiled away on his Violin Concerto in E Minor. Prior to the piece's completion, Mendelssohn founded the Leipzig Conservatory of Music and became its director. In so doing, he put Leipzig on the map as the musical center of Germany.
profile name: Felix Mendelssohn profile occupation:
Sign in with Facebook to see how you and your friends are connected to famous icons.
Your Friends' Connections
Included In These Groups
Famous Aquarians 598 people in this group
Famous Pianists 115 people in this group
Famous Conductors 25 people in this group