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Composer, pianist, and conductor. His grandfather was Moses Mendelssohn, the Jewish philosopher whose work opened the period of emancipation in Jewish history. Felix’s father, Abraham, wanted to spare his children from social and other forms of anti-Jewish discrimination, and therefore had them baptized as Lutherans. “That is the form of religion of most cultured men,” said Abraham Mendelssohn. To further conceal his son’s Jewish origin, he took the additional surname of Bartholdy. Felix often dropped the “Bartholdy” from his signature, and in the world of music his work is known simply as “Mendelssohn’s.” He retained a sincere and positive regard for Judaism, and there are many references in his correspondence to his Jewish identity.

A child prodigy, Mendelssohn began composing at the age of 11, and wrote some of his greatest work at 17. Some of his works

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