Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy (Hamburg, 3 February 1809 - Leipzig, 4 November 1847) was a composer, conductor, pianist and German organist of the Romantic period. Nephew of the philosopher Moses Mendelssohn (who came from a very poor Israeli family), Felix was born into a prominent family condition, since his father Abraham, a Berliner banker, son of Moses, had created and consolidated a remarkable financial patrimony. Felix was raised without religion until he was seven years old when he was baptized as a reformed Christian. Already at a very young age he was recognized as a musical prodigy (at just eleven he was beginning to compose his first symphonies for string orchestra), but his parents proved to be prudent and cleverly never tried to capitalize on his talent.
Mendelssohn wrote symphonies, concerts, oratories, piano music and chamber music. His best known works are his Ouverture and the stage music for A Midsummer Night's Dream (the only Ouverture was composed at 17), the Symphony called La Riforma (listed as No. 5 but composed as a second), the Italian Symphony, the Scottish Symphony, the overture by Le Hebridi and his Concerto for violin and orchestra and the two Concerts for piano and orchestra (op 25 and op 40). His words without words are his most famous compositions for solo piano. After a long period of relative denigration due to changes in the musical tastes and anti-Semitism that took place between the end of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, its creative originality is now recognized and revalued, and is counted among the composers more representative of the romantic period.