TRAGIC: Which “classical” composer has had the most tragic life?

Alex Robinson, Preparing for a Career in Opera writes ...

One of my favorite composers, Jean Sibelius, had an incredibly sad life.

This man has a national holiday in Finland on his birthday and his face on the 100 Mark note.

He played a part in Finland’s struggle with Russia during the early 20th century by giving Finland a true musical identity.

His life wasn’t as clean as his legacy.

3 Years Old:

Tragedy strikes for the first time. His father dies of Typhoid fever, leaving him and his mother with substantial debts.

35 Years Old:

Sibelius experiences the death of his beloved daughter Kirsti. He composes one of the saddest pieces of music ever written, melancholia.

39 Years Old:

Sibelius begins indulging himself in overly exorbitant living. He develops alcoholism to go along with his extreme depression.

39 Years Old:

Sibelius’ wife is driven to retire to a mental asylum due to exhaustion.

40 Years Old:

Sibelius nearly dies due to suspected Throat Cancer from his drinking and smoking. He composes his great comment on death and depression, The Fourth Symphony.

57 Years Old:

Sibelius’ brother dies, causing him to slip further into depression.

58 Years Old:

He virtually stops composing, his alcoholism and depression have become so ingrained he can’t write much worth writing anymore. He does manage to create one final masterpiece, Tapiola.

91 Years Old:

Sibelius dies, having lived a life filled with equal parts tragedy and genius.

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