Wednesday, December 14, 2005
Jan Sibelius was born in Finland, December 8, 1865. The following biographic sketch is from his own pen (quoted from Musical America of January 14, 1914): "It is true, I am a dreamer and poet of Nature. I love the mysterious sounds of the fields and forests, water and mountains. My father was a surgeon of the rank of Major in the Finnish army. I was educated by my grandmother, who insisted on my studying particularly Greek and Latin. I was graduated from the University of Helsingfors, and studied law, but I did not care to be a lawyer or judge. I determined to become a musician, and began to take lessons on the violin. I had already studied music systematically from my fourteenth year, and even composed simple pieces of chamber music. . . . My first composition to be performed was Variations for String-quartet, played in Helsingfors in 1887 . . . . In 1889 I left Finland to study in Berlin. Prof. Albert Becker instructed me there in composition, and there I started my larger orchestral works. In 1891 I went to Vienna and continued my studies with Karl Goldmark. I also studied awhile with Albert Fuchs. These are in brief the principal facts of my musical career. It pleases me greatly to be called an artist of nature, for nature has been the book of books for me."
Sibelius visited America in 1914, and while there received the degree of Doctor of Music from Yale University.