The grandson of Moses Mendelssohn, a distinguished philosopher and spiritual leader of German Jewry, wrote his inspired overture A Midsummer Night's Dream when only seventeen - eight years after his first public piano recital. In the vibrant, cultivated atmosphere of an affluent household, the young prodigy blossomed intellectually and musically.
Despite an exhausting schedule as a much sought-after conductor, pianist and teacher, the prolific composer completed five orchestral symphonies; the Reformation (1830-32), Italian (1833) and Scottish (1842) are the best known and most frequently performed. Within his body of music is the "Wedding March" familiar to us all.
Mendelssohn earned considerable fame in his day. His tours throughout the continent brought him often to England and into the personal favor of Queen Victoria who deeply admired his genius. he also helped revive interest in the century-old works of Bach, raised the quality of orchestral performance, and founded the Leipzig Conservatory of Music which was then regarded as the finest in the world.
Musicologists consider Mendelssohn's choral and organ music as among the best the century produced. By the early 1840s he was the most acclaimed and popular composer in Central Europe. And taking up the baton he conducted the first performances of symphonies by his friend and colleague, Robert Schumann, and by Franz Schubert.
Tragedy struck at age 38 when Mendelssohn's much adored sister, Fanny (an accomplished pianist in her own right), died suddenly. Physically depleted and in failing health, on of the most gifted musicians of his day expired soon after his overwhelming bereavement.
Source: Dor LeDor