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Born 8 December 1865, Hämeenlinna, Finland; died 20 September 1957, Järvenpää, Finland
Sibelius is the composer who established a strong national tradition for musical creativity in Finland, which flourishes to the present day. He grew up at a time when Finland was fighting for independence from Russia, and the nationalist flavour of his early works invoked adoration from the public and consternation from the authorities. Sibelius’s music grew out of the Romantic tradition of Tchaikovsky and became increasingly condensed and intense as he grew older; the seventh and last of his symphonies has an epic quality despite its duration of only twenty minutes.