Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Felix

BORN 3 Feb 1809, Hamburg - DIED 4 Nov 1847, Leipzig, Sachsen: Goldschmidtstraße
BIRTH NAME Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Jacob Ludwig Felix
GRAVE LOCATION Berlin: Dreifaltigkeitskirchhof I, Mehringdamm 21 (Halleschen Tor), Kreuzberg (VI-6-7)

Son of a Jewish banker and grandson of the philosopher Moses Mendelsohn. His family converted to Christianity in 1816. He was a child genius and performed with his sister Fanny. He was taught piano by Ludwig Berger and composition by Carl Friedrich Zelter. When he was 20 he produced his first piece and from then the music flew from his hands. In 1821 he had met Goethe, whose poetry influenced his early writing.

From 1826 until 1829 he studied at the University of Berlin. He became famous in Berlin after he directed a performance of the long lost "Matthäus Passion" by Bach at the Singakademie. From 1829 to 1831 he travelled to Italy, France and England to give concerts. In 1833 he became musical director in Düsseldorf and in 1835 Gewandhauskapellmeister in Leipzig, the youngest person ever to get that important position. He enlarged the orchestra with 50 musicians and put Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, Liszt and Schumann on the program. In Leipzig he married Cecile Jeanrendaud, the daughter of a clergyman.

After his appointment as general musical director in Berlin (1841) next to his duties in Leipzig, he was a co-founder of the conservatory in Leipzig in 1842. There he and Schumann taught composition and piano. In 1844 he met the Swedish singer Jenny Lind and they became close friends.

Mendelsohn worked much too hard and travelled too much and the death of his sister Fanny from a stroke in May 1847 was a heavy blow to him. Soon afterwards he suffered a stroke himself and his recovery was very slow. After a stay in Switzerland he returned to work, but soon he suffered a second stroke which left him partially paralyzed. He died in November 1847, only 38 years old.

• Father: Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Abraham
• Wife: Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Cäcilie Sophie Charlotte (1837-1847, Frankfurt am Main, Hessen: Französisch-reformierten Kirche)
• Sister: Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Fanny
• Brother: Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Paul Hermann
• Sister: Dirichlet-Mendelssohn, Rebecka

Related persons
• supported Bargiel, Woldemar
• visited Baudissin, Sophie von
• has a connection with Beethoven, Ludwig van
• was a friend of Burgmüller, Norbert
• was a friend of Chorley, Henry
• met Cornelius, Peter
• was a friend of Devrient, Eduard
• was a friend of Ernst, Heinrich Wilhelm
• was influenced by Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von
• was teacher of Goethe, Walther Wolfgang
• was teacher of Goldschmidt, Otto
• knew Gounod, Charles
• was a friend of Hiller, Ferdinand
• was influenced by Jean Paul
• was teacher of Joachim, Joseph
• knew Kemble, Adelaide
• knew Kinkel, Johanna
• was a friend of Lind, Jenny
• was teacher of Ludwig, Otto
• was painted by Magnus, Eduard
• knew Marchesi, Mathilde
• is brother/sister of Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Fanny
• cooperated with Pleyel-Moke, Marie Félicité
• influenced Reinecke, Carl
• influenced Rheinberger, Josef Gabriel
• knew Schadow-Hasenclever, Sophie
• is nephew/niece of Schlegel, Dorothea von
• cooperated with Schumann, Clara
• was a friend of Schumann, Robert
• was a friend of Spohr, Louis
• was teacher of Stamaty, Camille-Marie
• visited Varnhagen von Ense, Rahel
• was teacher of Verhulst, Johannes
• was teacher of Wichmann, Herman

10/4/1827Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy leaves Berlin for Great Britain. Between April and the end of July he spent time in London with Moscheles and his wife, Charlotte. On 23 July he left for Scotland where he travelled until 15 August. He returned from Glasgow to London. 
11/3/1829Bach's Matthäus Passion performed by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy in Berlin. The performance took place at the Singakademie in Berlin. Anna Milder-Hauptmann participated. [Milder-Hauptmann, Anna]
7/6/1836Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy arrives in Frankfurt am Main. Johann Nepomuk Schelble (1789-1837) was ill and he was asked to conduct at the Cäcilienverein for six weeks in June and July. 
9/9/1836Engagement of Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy and Cäcilie Jeanrenaud [Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Cäcilie Sophie Charlotte]
6/11/1837Charles and Adelaide Kemble arrive in Leipzig. They knew Felix Mendelssohn and Charles Kemble hoped that he would support Adelaide's singing career. Soon after their arrival they were spotted by the singer Clara Novello and her parents, who feared that Adelaide might be a rival to Clara. [Kemble, Adelaide][Kemble, Charles]
28/12/1838Sigismond Thalberg gives a concert in Leipzig. It was attended by Felix Mendelsson Bartholdy. A second concert followed on 30 December. [Thalberg, Sigismund]
27/5/1844Joseph Joachim performs the violin solo in Beethoven's "Violin Concerto" in London. It was during a concert of the Philharmonic Society that was conducted by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy. He was twelve years old at the time.The Philharmonic Society usually didn't allowed such young performers, but an exception was made. It was a great success and Joachim visited England numerous times afterwards. [Joachim, Joseph]
21/10/1844First meeting between Felix Mendelssohn and Jenny Lind. She was 24 at the time. It was suggested that they started an affair and that their secret love in combination with the death of his sister Fanny speedened his own death. [Lind, Jenny]
12/8/1845Beethoven statue in Bonn unveiled. It was created by Ernst Hähnel and unveiled in honour of the 75th anniversary of Beethoven's birth. Franz Liszt was actively involved in the project and donated over 10,000 francs. Schlegel had been the head of the organising committee but he died in May, 1845. Professor Heinrich Breidenstein, who had first expressed the idea, took over his position. The ceremony was attended by King Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia, Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, Hector Berlioz, Giacomo Meyerbeer, Ignaz Moscheles, Charles Hallé, Jenny Lind, Pauline Viardot, Lola Montez, Robert Schumann, Felix Mendelssohn and Maria Kalergis. [Berlioz, Hector][Hallé, Charles][Lind, Jenny][Liszt, Franz][Meyerbeer, Giacomo][Montez, Lola][Schumann, Robert][Viardot-Garcia, Pauline]
4/12/1845Jenny Lind sings at a Gewandhaus concert in Leipzig. It was organised by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy. [Lind, Jenny]
26/8/1846Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy conducts the premiere of his oratorio "Elijah" at Birmingham Town Hall. It was the first performance of the English version. The critic of "The Times" wrote that it was a 'complete triumph'. 
23/4/1847Queen Victoria and Prince Albert attend "Elijah" by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy. It was performed in London and Mendelssohn-Bartholdy had revised it since the premiere in Birmingham in 1846. 
4/5/1847Jenny Lind is Alice in Meyerbeer's "Robert Il Diavolo" at Her Majesty's Opera House in London. It was her debut in England. The queen was there and so was Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy. [Lind, Jenny]
3/2/1848Premiere of the German version of Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy's "Elijah" in Leipzig. He had died a few months before and Niels Gade was the conductor. 
2/4/1870Auguste Auspitz-Kolár plays Mendenssohn's "Piano Concerto in G minor" at the Crystal Palace in London 


The grave of Felix Mendelsohn-Bartholdy at the Dreifaltigkeitskirchhof I, Halleschen Tor, Kreuzberg, Berlin.
Picture by Androom (08 Apr 2003)


Bust of Felix Mendelsohn-Bartholdy in the garden of the house where he lived in Leipzig.
Picture by Androom (08 Feb 2005)


The gravesite of Felix and Fanny Mendelssohn-Bartholdy at the Dreifaltigkeitskirchhof I, Halleschen Tor, Berlin.
Picture by Androom (15 Jul 2005)


• Blainey, Ann, Fanny and Adelaide, Ivan R. Dee, Chicago, 2001
Jenny Lind in Donizetti's opera La Fille du Regiment | unknown | V&A Explore The Collections
Beethoven Monument - Wikipedia
Elijah (oratorio) - Wikipedia
Joseph Joachim - Wikipedia
Sigismond Thalberg - Wikipedia

Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Otto von

Published: 01 Jan 2006
Last update: 22 Apr 2024