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Mahler, Gustav

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Mahler, Gustav

Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) was an Austrian composer and conductor during the Romantic era. His most famous piece would be his Symphony No. 5.

An Eastern bloc child prodigy, Mahler discovered the piano (his grandparents') at age 4 and was giving public performances by age 10. After a successful audition with the iconic Jules Epstein, Mahler gained acceptance to the Vienna Conservatory at 15, making remarkable progress with piano during the first two years while also providing him with some early conducting experience.

After completing coursework at Vienna University, Mahler began work as a piano teacher and then moved onto a series of conductor posts. He would make progressive moves and stops for the next decade as a conductor, composing as more of a sideline venture. This would change at the end of the 19^th century.

As Mahler's whirlwind of composing was taking off, so did his love life after meeting Alma Schindler in 1901. A brief courtship, quick wedding and a daughter would ensue within a year. A second daughter followed a few years later. While his wife was a musician, Mahler forbade her to continue her studies. His theory was that one composer was all that the family could manage.

Between 1900 and 1905, Mahler composed several symphonies and was more frequently conducting his own work. Tragedy struck in 1907 when, while on a family vacation, the family suffered scarlet fever and diphtheria. Sadly, the eldest of Mahler's two daughters would not recover and the illness would leave Mahler in a physically weakened state for the rest of his life.

In the following year, Mahler made his conductor debut with Metropolitan Opera in New York. He also would enjoy a brief stint as director of the New York Philharmonic.

His Eighth Symphony premiered in Munich during the summer of 1910 and was hailed as his "biggest lifetime success." It would prove prophetic as the debut would be his last. Mahler continued working on his 10^th Symphony but would never complete it. The following spring he fell ill in Paris - the effects of his previously damaged heart taking its toll - was taken to Vienna where he died.

Tags:   Mahler, Gustav   Austrian   Piano   Conductor   Symphony   New York  

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Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) was an Austrian composer and conductor during the Romantic era. His most famous piece would be his Symphony No. 5.

An Eastern bloc child prodigy, Mahler discovered the piano (his grandparents') at age 4 and was giving public performances by age 10. After a...

By: Richard Martine Created 73 months ago

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