Interesting facts about Mendelssohn

Posted on Nov 24, 2022      188

The world-famous composer Felix Mendelssohn is probably familiar to everyone, because he composed the most popular wedding march in the world. However, in his work, there are many other significant works, which sometimes undeservedly overlooked. During his long and productive, creative life, Mendelssohn composed many pieces for orchestral or vocal performance.

Facts about Mendelssohn’s life

  • The composer had German ancestry with Jewish roots. His father was a banker and his grandfather was a famous philosopher.
  • Felix Mendelssohn’s full name was Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy. His family took his second surname after he was baptized.
  • One of his parents’ friends was the renowned musician Carl Zelter, who first discovered the musical talent in the future composer and advised him to develop it.
  • During his life, Felix Mendelssohn became acquainted with many other famous composers, in particular Frederic Chopin and Franz Liszt.
  • Already as a child, Mendelssohn began learning to play the violin and piano.
  • He gave his first small concert when he was only 9 years old.
  • Besides musical instruments, Felix Mendelssohn also had an excellent command of his own voice. When he was 10, his first vocal concert was held in Berlin.
  • He composed his first pieces of music, mostly sonatas for piano, violin and organ, when he was not even 12 years old.
  • At the age of thirteen, his music teacher introduced the young Felix Mendelssohn to the famous writer Johann Goethe, who spoke highly of the young musician’s creativity.

  • He was also an excellent conductor and often conducted himself at concerts. His overture of William Shakespeare’s comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream was performed more often than any other of his works.
  • When he was 16, his father took him to Paris, the musical center of the day. The rector of the Paris Conservatory himself, after becoming acquainted with Mendelssohn’s work, gave him the highest rating possible.
  • It was Mendelssohn who founded the world-famous Leipzig Conservatory.
  • He considered his favourite composer to be Johann Sebastian Bach, whose work had already been all but forgotten by that time.
  • The composer had the title of Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Leipzig.
  • Mendelssohn was married once in his lifetime and had five children.
  • Felix Mendelssohn toured abroad extensively with his works. However, he also performed the music of other composers, mainly Weber and Beethoven.
  • The Mendelssohn Museum is located in Leipzig, Germany, in the very house where the great composer died after another stroke.
  • Mendelssohn’s March, now known as the Wedding March, was written by him for the aforementioned overture of Shakespeare’s comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
  • The famous composer Richard Wagner condemned Mendelssohn’s work, accusing him of imitating Johann Sebastian Bach. Many scholars believe that this criticism was at least in part due to Wagner’s anti-Semitic views.
  • During his life, Felix Mendelssohn composed more than a hundred large-scale works.