8 December 1865 - 20 September 1957 (age 91)

Jean Sibelius was a Finnish composer. He composed seven symphonies and other works but is best known for his composition 'Finlandia'.



A brief biography



portrait of Sibelius


Born: 8 December 1865, Hämeenlinna, Finland
Father: Christian Gustaf Sibelius, a doctor, died when Jean was an infant
Mother: Maria Charlotta Sibelius
Siblings: Sister, Linda, pianist. Brother, Christian, cellist
Wife: Aino Järnefelt
Children: 6 daughters, one of which died at birth
Died: 20 September 1957, aged 91, brain hemorrhage
Grave: Under an apple tree at his home Ainola, Jarvenpaa, Finland

Ainola - his home

Ainola is the timber villa he built on the shore of Lake Tuusula in Järvenpää, about 30 minutes drive from Helsinki.
It is named after his wife Aino and was their family home from 1904.
He is buried there under an apple tree.
After the death of his widow his daughters sold the villa to the Finnish State which has made it into a museum.
Ainola website


- 7 Symphonies
- Finlandia
- Karelia Suite
- The Swan of Tuonela
- Violin concerto
- chamber music
- piano music
- choral music
- Masonic ritual music

A brief biography

- Age 2: Father died. His family went to live with his maternal grandmother.
- Age 10: first composition, for piano and cello.
- Age 15: Began taking violin lessons.
- Age 20: Went to Helsinki University to study Law and also enrolled in the Music Academy. Soon gave up Law in favour of music - violin and composition.
- Age 24: Went to study music in Berlin and then Vienna the following year.
- Age 27: Began his conducting career and married Aino Järnefelt.
- Age 34: Conducting tours in Britain and Germany.
- Age 39: Built a house in the country 40km north of Helsinki at Järvenpää.
- Age 40: Completed his Concerto for Violin.
- Age 43: Operated on for throat cancer.
- Age 49: Tour of America. Received honorary degree at Yale University. Outbreak of First World War (1914)
- Age 50: 50th birthday concert including his 5th Symphony was celebrated nationally.
- Age 61: Stopped conducting and reduced his composing activity.

Sibelius in Art


"Pay no attention to what the critics say... Remember, a statue has never been set up in honor of a critic!"

"It is difficult to keep company with artists. You have to choose businessmen if you want to converse, because artists only talk about money."


Karelia - Intermezzo I

Karelia - Alla Marcia
Gothenburg Symphony & Leif Segerstam

Finlandia op. 26
Opening of the new Helsinki music hall  

Violin Concerto
soloist Sarah Chang 4/4

Links - and where to go for more information 


The Sibelius website by the Finnish Cub of Helsinki

A website with timeline and photos


My Hero

Ainola his home, now a museum

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