Sibelius and the Freemasons: who else was in?

Sibelius and the Freemasons: who else was in?


norman lebrecht

December 30, 2013

In the quietest of weeks, the one that caught my ear as Albujm of the Week on was the ritual music written by Jean Sibelius for the first Lodge in newly independent Finland.

Never knew Sibelius was a Mason? See who else was. Read here.



  • Tom Moore says:

    where’s the big list of Masonic composers? two more that were Masons: Kuhlau and Joseph Guillou (early 19th century French flute virtuoso).

  • 18mebrumaire says:

    The number of masonic musicians, past and present, is extensive (just google the search terms for an overview). Most 18th-19th French and English musicians were freemasons and I daresay that still holds true. The Incorporated Society of Musicians, for instance, has its own lodge. The Trinity College of Music was founded by the Trinity Lodge of London. The orchestra of the Loge Olympique, who commissioned works from Haydn (yes), was a masonic foundation. I would guess that the high membership rate amongst musicians and actors is due to the precarious nature of the profession and the need for the mutual support and networking systems that masonry (purportedly) offers. I should state that I myself am not a member of the craft.

  • The Masons were fairly prominent during the jazz age; the many musicians and singers who joined included Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, and Nat King Cole. Songwriters George M. Cohan, Irving Berlin, and W. S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan (better known as Gilbert & Sullivan) were members, as were classical composers Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Franz Liszt, and Johann Christian Bach (son of Johann Sebastian Bach). John Philip Sousa, who composed “Stars and Stripes Forever,” also was a Mason. There is no definitive answer as to whether Ludwig von Beethoven was a member, but many experts believe several of his compositions contain Masonic references.

  • Tom Moore says:

    Another musical Mason: Carl Friedrich Ebers (he even wrote a treatise on Masonry).