About The Mendelssohn Project

The brightly shining Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy firmament was almost totally eclipsed by the creeping nightmare of anti-Semitism, intolerance and ignorance shortly after the composer's death in the mid-19th century. The rediscovery of his legacy, music, letters and artworks, the reintroduction of the music of his sister Fanny, the study of the life and times of the entire Mendelssohn family, and the reinstatement of Felix Mendelssohn's place in the pantheon of the greatest composers of all time, are the mission of The Mendelssohn Project ("TMP").

Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy (1809-1847) was the most celebrated, influential, and respected musician of his time, as well as a brilliant composer, performer and leading figure in European cultural life. Yet, of his more than 770 works, nearly half have never been performed! While today Mendelssohn's music itself retains a powerful presence in modern life – it is heard in theatre, television, commercials and churches his presence is keenly felt and his voice constantly heard; yet his name seldom shines with the luster that it was once accorded – the luster it so richly deserves. Before his sudden demise at the hands of German Nationalists, Felix Mendelssohn's name was spoken in the same breath as Mozart and Beethoven.

Led by Music Director Stephen Somary, and relying on decades of thorough research by prominent Mendelssohn experts, The Mendelssohn Project has compiled the world's most complete list of Felix Mendelssohn's works. They include operas, concertos, symphonies, chamber works, and sacred works – both large and small, as well as secular works, organ works, and lieder. The amount of great music by this esteemed composer which has never been heard in modern times is staggering. TMP plans to introduce hundreds of works to the public for the first time since the mid-nineteenth century. These works will be played and recorded by the world's premiere period instrument ensembles and singers, as well as leading modern orchestras and chamber groups playing in the style Mendelssohn envisioned. Felix Mendelssohn also painted, or drew, over 300 artworks. TMP plans to unveil these masterpieces to the public as well.

Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel (1805-1847), the older sister of Felix, was one of the best, yet unknown, composers of the 19th Century. While she was still a teenager, Goethe compared her to some of the greatest composers of all time. In an era when women were relegated to the "shadows", Fanny Hensel was supported in her efforts to compose by her beloved brother, Felix, and by her husband, the painter Wilhelm Hensel. Her output left the world with over 200 works. Most of these works have never been performed.

The Mendelssohn Project has set as its goal to reacquaint today's society with the music of these two composers, and to complete the incomplete and often distorted picture of their lives, compositions, and artworks.

In addition to creating and releasing first-time recordings of all their works, performed with the kind of forces for which they wrote, TMP plans to incorporate a variety of media from feature films, television, and theatre productions to interactive DVDs and children's products. This plan is designed to bridge gaps effectively between young people and older people of varying interests. Additional print media will explore the depth and beauty of the life of Fanny Hensel, and the exciting times, faults, power, and greatness of Felix Mendelssohn's life – a life which remains forever intertwined with the great historical figures of the nineteenth century. The facts surrounding their lives are spellbinding, as are the horrific reasons which have led to most of their music being deplorably relegated to the background for nearly two centuries.

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