December’s composer of the month is Jean Sibelius (zhahn suh-BAY-lee-oos).
Born: December 8, 1865
Died: September 20, 1957
• Sibelius composed seven symphonies between 1899 and 1926. He worked on an eighth for some time, though according to his family, he burned the score in 1945.
• In his native Finland, Sibelius's face has appeared on stamps and currency. The national Flag Day (also known as the Day of Finnish Music) occurs every year on the composer's birthday.
• One of Sibelius's most famous works is the tone poem, Finlandia. He later reworked a portion of the piece into a hymn, which is now regarded as the county's unofficial national anthem.
• Sibelius once had this famous response to criticism: "Pay no attention to what critics say. No statue has ever been put up to a critic."
• By 1898, Sibelius was receiving funding from the Finnish government which made it possible for him to continue composing without having to worry about money.
Three important works:
• Finlandia (1900)
• Symphony No. 2 (1902)
• Violin Concerto in D minor (1904)
Audio Backpack playlist: Jean Sibelius