Virginia Tech Multimedia Music Dictionary Composer Biographies

Jean Sibelius

Born: August 12, 1865 Hämeenlinna, Finland
Died: September 20, 1957 Järvenpää, Finland
Nationality: Finnish
Era: Romantic
Main genre: Orchestral
Main works:
Orchestral Music:
7 Symphonies
Finlandia, Op. 26
Pelleas and Melissande
Belshazzar's Feast
In Memorium
Lemminkäinen Suite - "4 Legends From The Kalevala", Op. 22
Violin Concerto in D Minor, Op. 47
Brief biography:

Jean Sibelius was born in Hämeenlinna, Finland on August 12, 1865. When he completed secondary school in 1885, he went to study at the Music Institute of Helsinki. Here he studied under Martin Wegelius for music theory, and H. Csillágin for the violin. Upon completion of his studies in 1889, he moved on to study music in Berlin and Vienna to continue his study of musical comosition. Upon his return to Helsinki, in 1891, he had one of his first successes, the choral symphony Kullervo. It was at this time where Sibelius married Aino Järnefelt, who would bear him 6 children. Afterwards he returned to the Music Institute of Helsinki, only this time he was a teacher. He taugh at the Music Institute of Helsinki on two separate occations, from 1892-1900 and 1907-1910. From 1891 to 1901 Sibelius wrote his first two symphonies. In 1903 he wrote the Violin Concerto, immediately followed by his 3rd. Symphony. By 1914 his 4th and 5th symphonies were completed, and by 1919 his 6th and 7th symphonies were completed. From this point to his death in 1957 he would not produce any other major works. An 8th symphony was supposedly produced during this period, but it was supposedly destroyed. As well as his 7 symphonies, he wrote over 100 solo songs and other minor pieces, many of which were intended for string quartets.

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