Born: February 3, 1809 – Hamburg, Holy Roman Empire
Died: November 4, 1847 – Leipzig, Saxony
A few facts about Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy
- He came from a wealthy Jewish family who mixed with many of Germany’s leading artists and musicians. Brought up in a secular household Mendelssohn was baptised into the Calvinist Reform church when he was seven years old
- He and his sister Fanny both disliked the surname Bartholdy which their father had adopted at his conversion. Embarking on his musical career, Felix did not drop the name Mendelssohn as Abraham had requested, but in filial deference signed his letters and had his visiting cards printed as “Mendelssohn-Bartholdy”.
- He first visited Britain in 1829 and was to make 10 visits in the following 18 years. He was a firm favourite as conductor, pianist, and composer and was greatly admired by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. On his last trip to London he was the soloist in Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.4 and conducted his own Scottish Symphony with the Philharmonic Orchestra before the royal couple.
- In the final years of his life, Mendelssohn was in poor health. That hectic tour of England in 1847 left him exhausted and ill, and he suffered a series of strokes and died at the age of 38. Once he described death as a place “where it is to be hoped there is still music, but no more sorrow or partings.”