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Jean Sibelius
Johan (Jean) Julius Christian Sibelius (December 8, 1865 - September 20, 1957) was a composer of classical music. He belongs together with Johan Ludvig Runeberg to the Finns who most of all symbolise the Finnish national identity.

Jean Sibelius was born in 1865 into a Finland-Swedish family in Hämeenlinna in the Russian Grand Duchy of Finland. His family followed the emerging norm of the Fennomans enrolling him in Finnish language schools.

His most famous compositions are probably Finlandia, Valse Triste, the Violin Concerto, the Karelia suite and the Swan of Tuonela, a movement from his Lemminkäinen suite, but he wrote much else besides, including other pieces inspired by the Kalevala, seven symphonies, 100 arias, and masonic ritual music.

Sibelius (as reported in the Manchester Guardian newspaper in 1958) summed up the style of his later works by saying that while other composers were engaged in manufacturing cocktails he offered the public pure cold water.

Contributed by Wikipedia
5 January 2004

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