Mendelssohn, Felix

Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy was born in Hamburg, on February 3, 1809 in the family of the banker Abraham, who was the son of the famous Jewish philosopher Moses Mendelssohn, and Leah Solomon. Parents renounced Judaism, their children did not get any religious education and were baptized in the Lutheran church in 1816. Surname Bartholdi was added to show a decisive break with the traditions of the ancestors.

The family moved to Berlin in 1811. Parents sought to give Felix, his brother and sisters the best education.
At the age of 6, Felix Mendelssohn began to receive piano lessons from his mother, and from seven years he studied with Marie Bigo in Paris. Since 1817, he studied composition with Karl Friedrich Zelter. At the age of 9, he made his debut taking part in a chamber concert in Berlin.

Zelter introduced Felix to his friend Goethe, who later shared his impressions of the young talent, citing a comparison with Mozart: "Musical miracles ... probably are not so rare anymore; But what this little man can do, playing improvisation or from a sheet, it's on the verge of magic. I cannot believe that this is possible at such an early age. "
Later Felix met with Goethe several times and put to the music a lot of his poems.

Mendelssohn was admitted to the Berlin Choir Academy in 1819. From this moment he composed without stopping. The first edition of his works was published in 1822, when the young composer was only 13 years old. At the age of 15 he wrote his first symphony for the orchestra C minor. A year later, a work that showed the full power of his genius - Octet E flat major. This Octet and the overture "Midsummer Night's Dream" (part of which was "The Wedding March") written in 1826 are the most famous of the composer's early works.

Later, Mendelssohn became a conductor in the Berlin choral academy, and was able to implement in 1829 the production of " St Matthew Passion" by Johann Bach. The success of this work laid the foundation for the revival of Bach's music in Germany, and then throughout Europe.

In 1833, Felix Mendelssohn became the conductor of the Rhine Music Festival in Düsseldorf, where he annually presented his works. And two years later he started to conduct in Leipzig, setting a goal: to make it a musical center of a European scale.
The next year, in 1836, the composer received an honorary doctorate from the University of Leipzig. In the same year he met Cecil Jeanrenaud, daughter of a Protestant clergyman. On March 28, 1837 they got married. Their marriage was a happy one, and the couple had five children.

The King of Prussia did not give up attempts to lure the composer to Berlin, and eventually Mendelssohn was appointed Music Director of the Academy of Arts. Until 1845, he periodically worked in Berlin, without leaving his post in Leipzig. Sometimes he traveled to England, performing his work in London and Birmingham, where he met with Queen Victoria and her husband, Prince Albert. The royal couple admired his music.

In 1843, Felix Mendelssohn founded the Leipzig Music Conservatory, the first educational institution of its kind in Germany, thus realizing his dream and making Leipzig a musical center on the map of the country.
Gradually the composer's health began to deteriorate, he left for treatment to Switzerland, but returned to Leipzig in an even worse condition. Felix Mendelssohn died on November 4, 1847 at the age of 38.