The Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy Foundation

The brilliant composer, (The genius of a composer,) with his visionary reach into almost all aspects of life, was already at an early age one of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s favourite musicians. The 20 year-old Mendelssohn, through a performance of J. S. Bach’s St Matthew Passion almost one hundred years after its first performance, rescued this glorious work from oblivion, and thereby revived the great tradition of Bach performance. Mendelssohn founded the first German Conservatory in Leipzig in 1843. As Director of the Gewandhaus Orchestra (Gewandhauskapellmeister), he insisted that his best musicians maintained and carried forward its traditions in their professorial roles. His conducting style and his leadership of the orchestra quickly became shining examples throughout Europe. His overarching concept was that music should be an inspirational strength for humanity.

In 1991 the International Mendelssohn Foundation was founded under Kurt Masur’s chairmanship for saving and restoring the house where Mendelssohn lived and died. The house was opened to the public as a museum in 1997.

The foundation of the Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy Foundation followed in 2003, with the support of the Leipzig Town Council. The aims of the FMB Foundation are to carry forward Mendelssohn’s cosmopolitan inspiration through; support for the complete edition of his musical works, letters and paintings; support for young musicians and musicologists, particularly when they have demonstrated especial merit through Mendelssohn’s work and inspiration.

The Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy Foundation has spread beyond Germany’s borders, with the formation of Friends’ Circles in the United Kingdom, France, Japan and the USA.