Jean Sibelius, Finland’s greatest composer, was born on December 8, 1865. He began taking piano lessons at age nine, but it was the violin that became his favorite instrument. He became a very good player, but as composing quickly became his main passion, he was not quite good enough to play his own Violin Concerto.
His most famous piece is of course Finlandia. It has roused the Finnish spirit ever since, in their struggle to be free from Russian dominance, and when the Nazis invaded during WWII.
Sibelius is a national hero in Finland, and his birthday is a flag day, known as the Day of Finnish Music.
To hear Finlandia click: