Gil Shaham, internationally acclaimed concert violinist:
The music of Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy has been taken for granted for far too long. With The Mendelssohn Project, a large worldwide focus will be placed on Mendelssohn and his music, his life, those that surrounded him and those who succeeded him, and will no doubt return his level of fame to what it was before his name was brought down for unspeakable reasons within a few years of his death. I believe that the recording of his more than 750 works, in authentic performances, including over 270 works never heard before in modern times, combined with the films, print materials, paintings, and children's programs – just to name some of the aspects of this project – will kindle appreciation of classical music in those who have not had it before. I am thrilled to have been invited to participate in The Mendelssohn Project, not only for what it is doing, but also for what it will do when all its facets have been realized.
Leonard Slatkin, Music Director, Detroit Symphony Orchestra:
The Mendelssohn Project will provide a unique opportunity for both musicians and scholars to probe the depths of this most important composer. With exhaustive audio and print materials available, everyone will be able to understand virtually all aspects of Mendelssohn's life. As a pivotal figure in music, Felix Mendelssohn's work needs a vital reassessment. This Project will give us all that opportunity.
Malcolm Bilson, world renowned period-instrument pianist:
This is a wonderful project, brilliantly conceived, that promises to be a milestone in the history of "complete" recording projects of an individual composer. I hope to be able to personally participate as much as possible.
Anner Bylsma, internationally acclaimed period-instrument cellist:
The gain – of course – for the music-making of our day is in the playing and singing from all centuries and cultures possible, the getting in touch with so many different mentalities and loves. Inescapably this has brought on an amount of superficiality. For understanding and feeling a music deeply, a concert program with (for example) Scarlatti, Mozart, Chopin, Brahms, and Debussy in a row (and on the same piano) is an anomaly. Undoubtedly the future will bring more real interest in the background of every piece and its maker, an interest in so many worlds now lost, but still with us in the music. Your project will be an eye-opener, a pace-setter and a great amount of joy with Mendelssohn, this incredible man!
Thomas Murray, Professor of Music and University Organist, Yale University:
In consideration of Felix Mendelssohn's stature on the horizon of western music, it is surprising that so much of his work is neglected and unrecorded – some of it even unpublished. This splendidly comprehensive and multi-faceted project will remedy a lacuna which must be filled if we are to gain a full appreciation of Mendelssohn's genius. Though of recordings of favorite works abound, it is tantalizing to know there is much of Mendelssohn's music which has never passed through the microphone, and equally promising that, through this venture, the entire scope of this composer's creation will be available in combination with scholarly commentary.
Anna H. Harwell Celenza, award-winning author of children's books
The Mendelssohn Project is groundbreaking in its commitment to reaching out to young listeners. In addition to supplying the much needed scores and recordings of Mendelssohn's music to adult scholars and performers, the project is obviously dedicated to enriching the musical education of young children. Children in the United States are no longer taught how to appreciate music's aesthetic worth, and teachers and parents with little to no training in classical music have few sources that offer in-depth guidance in this area. The Mendelssohn Project will change this. Although great strides have been made since the 1960s in teaching children how to make music, little effort has been given to teaching children how to listen actively to music and interpret its cultural and aesthetic value. In general, music has commonly been treated as a skill to be acquired rather than as an art to be appreciated. This is unfortunate, especially when we consider that similar deficiencies do not exist in the pedagogical approach applied to the study of other fine arts (i.e. literature and the visual arts). Children are instructed in the skill of writing from an early age, and even though they are not expected to write novels and complex poetry while in elementary school, they are nonetheless exposed to such masterworks and taught the skills needed for acquiring appreciation. The same is true for the visual arts. Children are taught how to paint and draw, and they are given an appreciation for fine art through picture books and museum visits, even though they are not expected to create such masterworks themselves. But the instruction of music is markedly different. With music, children are taught a song or given an instrument in school, and the job of instruction is seen as complete. Rarely are they exposed to symphonic works and instrumental chamber music, let alone the history and cultural significance of such pieces. This is an unfortunate oversight that The Mendelssohn Project is clearly committed to correcting. Through the children's books based on specific Mendelssohn compositions and the creative writing program designed around Mendelssohn's music, The Mendelssohn Project is taking the first step in exposing children to the wonders of classical music and teaching them how to be active listeners.