Jean Sibelius

Fun Facts

  • Sibelius was Finland's greatest composer.

  • After his father's death when he was two, Sibelius' uncle became a father-figure in his life who encouraged his nephew's musical gifts and even gave him his first violin.

  • From the age of fifteen, Sibelius aspired to become a violin virtuoso, practicing for hours every day.  Eventually realizing that he had started too late, he would turn to composing instead.

  • Sibelius and his wife, Aino, had six daughters.

  • Sibelius retired from composing and didn't write any major works for the last three decades of his life.

  • After a successful operation for throat cancer, Sibelius would live fifty more years.

  • Sibelius died from a brain hemorrhage at the age of ninety-one.

  • Though he was a skilled violinist, Sibelius' own Violin Concerto was too difficult for him to play.

  • The famous tune Finlandia was originally composed by Sibelius as a patriotic outcry against Russian censorship.

  • Thanks to an annual grant from Finland's government, Sibelius was able to concentrate on composition without financial worries.

More Resources

Fun Facts

Check out our collection of interesting and (some) little known facts about Sibelius.

Biography

View Jean Sibelius's full biography.