Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

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I know what you did last Summer…

Fri May 17 2019

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Now time for some music by Felix Mendelssohn's good friend, Prince Albert (i.e. Queen Victoria's husband).… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…


Richard Strauss had only just turned 18 when he composed his Violin Concerto during his school summer holidays.

While most of us probably opted for less-productive ways to spend our summers, he’s not alone in his teenage feats. Here are some examples of other famous teenage Summer Holiday accomplishments.

1 World-renowned for his co-invention of Cubism and other artistic innovations, it is no surprise that Pablo Picasso was doing more than twiddling his thumbs during his summers. Recognising his artistic talent, Picasso’s father persuaded the officials at the School of Fine Arts in Barcelona to let his son take the entrance exam for their advanced class. Of course, the officials were extremely impressed with the 13 year old’s work and admitted him into the Academy

2 Nadia Comăneci made history when she was 14 in July 1976 at the Montreal Summer Olympics. She became the first person to ever be awarded a ‘perfect 10’ in Olympic gymnastics and holds the record for being the youngest Olympics gymnastics all-around champion ever. While it is technically not actually possible for Comăneci to have her record legally beaten (as a result of the age eligibility in the sport being raised to 16), we still think it’s pretty impressive.

3 Business magnate, investor, author and philanthropist (phew!) Richard Branson demonstrated a talent for entrepreneurship when he was only 16. His alternative 1968 magazine ‘Student’, for which he interviewed a number of prominent personalities of the late 1960s, was an overnight success and kick-started his career as the founder of the Virgin Group.

4 Mark Zuckerberg is famous (or, perhaps now, infamous) for developing one of the largest social networking platforms in existence; Facebook. In July 2003, when Zuckerberg was 19 and in his second year at Harvard, he developed ‘FaceMash’. This rather questionable website, which allowed the students of Harvard to rate female students as ‘hot or not’, gradually evolved into Facebook as we know it today.

5 Love it or hate it, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is a classic novel that has withstood the test of time. What makes her accomplishment even more prominent is that the beginnings of the novel were conceived when she was only 18, as a result of her step-sister’s lover Lord Byron suggesting they compete to write the best ghost story in the Summer of 1815.

6 Widely regarded as the greatest football player of all time, Pelé quickly rose to fame after becoming the youngest player to participate in a World Cup final match. For the match in June 1958, Pelé was only 17 when he scored two of the winning goals for Brazil against Sweden, taking their goal-count to an impressive 5-2 win.

7 Although technically not in the summer holidays, Malala Yousafzai deserves a place on our list for becoming the youngest-ever Nobel laureate after being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in December 2014. Yousafzai rightly earned her Prize for her endless campaigning to give all girls the same access to education, as a result of her suffering from the oppressive enforcements of the Taliban on girls and women. After horrendously being targeted and shot in the head in 2012 for her activism, Malala has gone on to become one of the most influential figures in recent history.

Anna Bennett, Marketing and Press Officer


Sibelius: States of Independence

7pm, Friday 31 May 2019, Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall




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