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Profile of Jean Sibelius


Profile of Jean Sibelius

Jean Sibelius

Public Domain Portrait from Wikimedia Commons


December 8, 1865


Hämeenlinna, a small town in Helsinki


September 20, 1957 in Järvenpää, near Helsinki

Also Known As:

His full name was Johan (Jean) Julius Christian Sibelius. He was a Finnish composer, conductor and teacher. He was married to Aino Järnefelt with whom he had 6 children.

Type of Compositions:

Sibelius composed symphonies, orchestral pieces, chamber, choral and incidental music, an opera and piano pieces.


Sibelius started out by playing the piano when he was 5. In 1880, he started to receive violin lessons; the instrument which he would formally concentrate on. Initially, Sibelius studied law at the University of Helsinki, but he soon realized that his passion was music. He then enrolled at the Helsinki Music Institute; now known as Sibelius Academy, where he studied the violin under Mitrofan Wasileff. It is there where he met the composer Ferruccio Busoni. He also went to Berlin, studying under Albert Becker, and Vienna to further his studies.

Notable Works:

Among his works are "String Quartet in A minor," "Kullervo," "En Saga," "Lemminkäinen suite," "Aténarnes sång," "Concerto for Violin," "Finlandia," "Valse Triste," "String Quartet in D minor," seven symphonies; he also composed music for the play "The Tempest" (Shakespeare) and a tone poem titled "Tapiola."

Interesting Facts:

Sibelius set to music many poems written by J.L. Runeberg. He has an honorary doctorate from Yale University. During Sibelius' 50th birthday, a concert was held in his honor during which he conducted several of his works. On his 70th birthday, a grander celebration was held in his honor. In attendance were several notable personalities, including former presidents.

Other Interesting Facts:

Both his siblings were likewise musically talented. Linda, his sister, played the piano and Christian, his younger brother, played the cello. The siblings would perform together, even playing some of Jean Sibelius' early compositions.

Music Sample:

Listen to Jean Sibelius' "Finlandia" courtesy of YouTube.

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