Richard Strauss

Born in Munich, Germany, in 1864, Richard Strauss was a leading composer of the modern orchestra and a master of composing for the human voice. The son of an eminent horn player, Franz Strauss, he was trained in music at home from the age of 4 and later attended the University of Munich. His early works were strongly influenced by the classical and romantic masters. These include Burleske for piano and orchestra (1885) and a symphonic fantasy Aus Italien (1887). In the period, 1887 to 1904, he developed the symphonic poem to a high degree and made a notable contribution to the repertory of program music. With the premiere of his tone poem, Don Juan (1888), he was recognized as a leading progressive composer. Other works produced in this period include Macbeth (1890), Death and Transfiguration (1890), Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks (1895) and Don Quixote (1897) His compositions from 1904 to 1949 were mostly operas. After the production of his first successful opera, Salome (1905), Strauss formed a partnership with the Austrian poet and librettist Hugo von Hofmannsthal, with whom he produced many operas, including Elektra (1909), Der Rosenkavalie r (1911) and Arabella (1933) From the age of 21 and for most of his life, Strauss was a successful conductor of orchestras and director of opera houses in Germany and Austria. He had an international conducting career as well which, in the 1920s, took him to North and South America and most parts of Europe.