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fanny hensel and Mendelssohn

Early life and education

Fanny Mendelssohn was born on November 14, 1805 in Berlin to Moses Hensel (1774-1847), a wealthy merchant, and his wife, Henriette Karoline von Reuter. Fanny was the second of six children: two sons and four daughters. From an early age, Fanny showed considerable musical promise and was noted for her skill at the keyboard. She began her education at the age of three with her father and continued it under the guidance of various teachers until she was eleven years old.

Gender and class limitations

Fanny Mendelssohn was a woman who composed music in the Romantic era. She was of Jewish ancestry and therefore faced many gender and class limitations during her lifetime. For example, she did not receive the same amount of recognition or financial compensation as her male counterparts. However, her music remains as a testament to her incredible talent.

Felix and Fanny

Fanny Hensel was born in Berlin to Jewish parents who had converted to Protestantism. Felix Mendelssohn and she fell in love, but their parents disapproved of the match andrefused to legitimize the relationship. In defiance of his father, Felix took Fanny on a Grand Tour in 1835, ostensibly to allow her to study music in Italy. Their relationship lasted until Felix’s death in 1847.

Marriage and later life

After her marriage, Fanny Hensel took on the surname Mendelssohn Bartholdy. Hensel was born into a well-to-do Jewish family in Berlin on November 14, 1805. Although she enjoyed music from an early age, Hensel did not take up composition until she met Felix Mendelssohn in 1825. The following year, she completed her first work, a piano trio. The work was published but met with little success. In 1830, however, Mendelssohn brought her the premiere of her Piano Quartet No. 1 and it soon became known throughout Europe. That same year, she gave birth to their first child, Ludwig Hensel. Shortly after his birth, the family moved to Italy where Mendelssohn had been appointed musical director of the Neapolitan Royal Court. From 1836 to 1840, they lived in Paris where Fanny Hensel composed several sonatas and fugues for piano and orchestra as well as the overture Die Freunde von Salamanca. On their return to Berlin in 1840, the Mendelssohns built a new house which they named after Bartholdy’s mother (Fanny Mendelssohn Bartholdy). Ludwig died there in.


On 14 May 1847 Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel died in Berlin of complications from a stroke suffered while rehearsing one of her brother’s cantatas, The First Walpurgis Night. Felix himself died less than six months later from the same cause (which was also responsible for the deaths of both of their parents and their grandfather Moses), but not before completing his String Quartet No. 6 in F minor, written in memory of his sister. Fanny was buried next to her parents in a portion of the Dreifaltigkeit Cemetery in Berlin reserved for Jewish converts to Christianity (Neuchristen).


Mendelssohn, a German composer of the early Romantic era, is best known for her solo piano works, including the octet and the 48 preludes and Fugues. Mendelssohn wrote chamber music, two piano trios, a piano quartet, an orchestral overture, four cantatas (op. 50), more than 125 pieces for the piano, and over 250 lieder.

Style and form

Mendelssohn was a composer who placed great emphasis on both style and form. She believed that a musical composition should exhibit great melodic beauty as well as harmonic unity. Mendelssohn also placed great importance on the correct use of tempo, rhythm, and timbre.


From the 1980s onwards there has been renewed interest in Mendelssohn and her works. The Fanny & Felix Mendelssohn Museum, which is dedicated to the lives and work of the two siblings, opened on 29 May 2018 in Hamburg, Germany.

Minor planet fr:(9331) Fannyhensel is named after her.

On 14 November 2021, Google commemorated Fanny Hensel’s 216th birthday with a Google Doodle in North America, Iceland, Germany, Greece, Ukraine, Israel, Armenia, Australia and New Zealand.


Fanny Hensel was a German composer and pianist of the early Romantic era who was also known as Fanny (Cäcilie) Mendelssohn Bartholdy and, after her marriage, Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel (as well as Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel). Her compositions include a piano trio, a piano quartet, an orchestral overture, four cantatas, more than 125 pieces for the piano, and over 250 lieder, but what is your favorite?


Fanny Mendelssohn wrote a great deal of prose as well, including travelogues and biographies of her family. In 1840, she published A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which was the first book-length work she had written in her own name.

Biographical and musicological studies

Fanny Mendelssohn was born in Berlin, the daughter of the famous composer and pianist Moses Mendelssohn (1729-1786) and his wife Lea Salomon (1737-1809). She started composing at a young age and was recognised for her talents in her twenties. After marrying Hensel in 1835, she stopped composing, but resumed writing music in 1843. Hensel died in 1847, after which Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel continued to compose until her death in 1880.


Fanny Hensel was an amazing composer. Her music is timeless and has inspired many people over the years. She was a phenomenal pianist and she composed some of the best piano pieces of all time. If you’re interested in her music, I recommend checking out her website where you can find more information about her life and work.


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