The company was named after the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius, and was founded in April 1993 by twins Ben and Jonathan Finn to sell the Sibelius notation program. It went on to develop and distribute various other music software products, particularly for education. In addition to its head office in Cambridge and subsequently London, Sibelius Software opened offices in the US, Australia and Japan, with distributors and dealers in many other countries worldwide.
In July 2012, Avid announced plans to divest its consumer businesses, closed the Sibelius London office, and laid off the original development team, despite extensive protests on Facebook and elsewhere. Avid subsequently recruited some new programmers to continue development of Sibelius.
The company has won numerous awards, including the Queen's Award for Innovation in 2005.
The company's best-known product, Sibelius, enables the user to create, print and play back sheet music, and publish it via the Internet or iPad.
It was first released (under the name Sibelius 7) for Acorn computers in 1993. The business also sold Acorn computers, printers, MIDI equipment, word processing & graphics software, etc. because at that time many of its customers did not already have a computer; but the company stopped selling these products (and developing Acorn software) when it released Sibelius for Windows in September 1998. This was followed by a Mac version in March 1999. From the Windows release, the unusual suffix '7' was dropped from the Sibelius product name, and the version number restarted at 1.0.
Thereafter, the company has released new major Sibelius versions for Windows and Mac approximately every 2 years, with minor updates in between. It has also produced versions of Sibelius in many languages including English, French, German, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese and Russian.
The company has also released various other music programs, including special versions of Sibelius (e.g. for students and commercial electronic publishers), add-ons for Sibelius, and a range of software for teaching music called Sibelius Educational Suite. Some of this software was developed by other companies.
- Sibelius First ('lite' version of Sibelius for students/amateurs)
- Sibelius Internet Edition (for online music publishing)
- Scorch (a web browser plug-in and iPad app for viewing, playing, printing and transposing Sibelius scores)
- PhotoScore Lite, Professional & Ultimate (for scanning printed scores; distributed but not developed by Sibelius)
- AudioScore Lite & Professional (for playing/singing audio into Sibelius; distributed but not developed by Sibelius)
- G7, guitar-focused songwriting software
- Sibelius Sounds (range of sound libraries for Sibelius)
- Sibelius Coloured Keyboard (computer keyboard with color-coded keys showing Sibelius shortcuts; now sold by LogicKeyboard)
- SequenceXtra (sequencing software library)
Sibelius Educational Suite
- Sibelius Student (replaced by Sibelius First)
- Sibelius Instruments
- Sibelius Compass
- Sibelius Starclass
- Sibelius Notes (originally called Sibelius Teaching Tools)
- Auralia (from Rising Software - still available but no longer distributed by Avid)
- Musition (from Rising Software - still available but no longer distributed by Avid)
- Groovy Music (suite of primary school products)
- O-Generator (distributed but not developed by Sibelius)
Scorewriting software for Acorn computers
- Sibelius 7 (for professionals & universities)
- Sibelius 7 Student (for advanced secondary school students)
- Sibelius 6 (for secondary schools & amateurs)
- Junior Sibelius (for primary schools)
- Optical Manuscript (for scanning printed scores into Sibelius 7; distributed but not developed by Sibelius)
- 100 Monotype fonts pack (text fonts for use in scores; distributed but not developed by Sibelius)
(This excludes releases of software version upgrades.)
- 1986: Founders Jonathan & Ben Finn start designing Sibelius 7 program for Acorn computers
- 1993: Sibelius Software founded to sell Sibelius 7 and related computer hardware/software in the UK. Early customers include Europe’s largest publisher Music Sales, choral composer John Rutter, and the Royal Academy of Music. Sibelius 6 (educational version) launched
- 1994: Distribution in Europe, Australia & New Zealand commences. Sibelius 7 Student (educational version) launched
- 1995: German versions of Sibelius launched
- 1996: US office opened in California. Junior Sibelius (primary school program) launched
- 1998: Sibelius for Windows launched worldwide. Company ceases selling hardware to concentrate on core software business
- 1999: Sibelius for Mac, PhotoScore and Scorch launched. Sibelius forms US subsidiary, creating the Sibelius Group, which now has 25 employees. Quester VCT invests
- 2000: Sibelius Internet Edition launched, and is adopted for Internet publishing by leading European publishers Music Sales and Boosey & Hawkes. SibeliusMusic.com and Sibelius Notes (initially called Teaching Tools) launched
- 2001: World’s largest sheet music publisher Hal Leonard also adopts Sibelius Internet Edition. Sibelius Group reaches 50 employees
- 2002: Sibelius is first major music program for Mac OS X. Company acquires music software company MIDIworks
- 2003: Revenues beat competitor MakeMusic Inc by 20%, confirming Sibelius as world market leader. Starclass, Instruments, G7 and G7music.net launched. Sibelius Group commences distributing Musition and Auralia. Sibelius in Japanese launched, distributed by Yamaha
- 2004: Compass, Kontakt Gold, Sibelius Student Edition, Sibelius in French & Spanish launched. Company acquires SequenceXtra. Sibelius software used in more than 50% of UK secondary schools
- 2005: Australian subsidiary formed after acquiring Australian distributor. Company reaches 75 employees. Wins prestigious Queen’s Award for Innovation. Releases Rock & Pop Collection of sounds. Commences distributing O-Generator
- 2006: Groovy Music and Coloured Keyboard launched. Sibelius Software is bought by Avid Technology
- 2007: Japanese office opened
- 2012: Avid closes Sibelius's London office and lays off original development team
- "News from Classical Music Magazine". Rhinegold.co.uk. 2012-07-04. Retrieved 2012-07-23.
- "Avid Divests Consumer Businesses and Streamlines Operations". Business Wire. 2012-07-02. Retrieved 2012-07-23.
- "Of Note: Finale and Sibelius tips and tutorials by musician, arranger and music notation expert Robert Puff". Rpmseattle.com. 2012-07-16. Retrieved 2012-07-23.
- "Save Sibelius". Retrieved 29 July 2012.
- "Sibelius is in crisis!". Retrieved 29 July 2012.