Felix Mendelssohn

Felix Mendelssohn

  • Born
    3rd February 1809
  • Died
    4th November 1847
  • Birthplace
    Hamburg, Germany
Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy was a German composer, pianist, organist and conductor of the early Romantic period. The grandson of the philosopher Moses Mendelssohn, Felix Mendelssohn was born into a notable ethnically Jewish family, although he himself was brought up initially without religion, and later as a Lutheran Christian. He was recognised early as a musical prodigy, but his parents were cautious and did not seek to capitalise on his abilities. He began taking piano lessons from his mother when he was six, and at seven was tutored by Marie Bigot in Paris. After the family moved to Berlin, all four Mendelssohn children studied piano with Ludwig Berger, himself a former student of Muzio Clementi. From at least May 1819 Felix and his sister studied counterpoint and composition with Carl Friedrich Zelter. This was an important influence on his future career. Zelter had almost certainly been recommended as a teacher by his aunt Sarah Levy, an ex-pupil of W. F. Bach and a patron of C. P. E. Bach.