June 11, 1864
September 8, 1949 at Garmisch-Partenkirchen
Also Known As:
He was an innovative German Romantic composer and conductor, considered as Richard Wagner's heir,
Type of Compositions:
He wrote operas, symphonic poems, instrumental and vocal music.
Strauss learned to play the piano when he was 4 and the violin when he was 8 years old. His father, Franz Strauss, was the principal French-horn player for the Munich Court Orchestra. Through his father, Strauss met and eventually became friends with Hans von Bülow who offered him the position of assistant conductor at Meiningen. He became chief conductor at Berlin's Royal Opera in 1898. Strauss' early works was influenced by Wagner's operas and Liszt's symphonic poems. He was also influenced by Alexander Ritter to shift away from the classical form.
Among his famous works are: his symphonic poems "Don Juan," "Macbeth," "Don Quixote," "Tod und Verklarung," "Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche," "Also sprach Zarathustra" and "Ein Heldenleben;" his operas "Der Rosenkavalier," "Ariadne auf Naxos," "Capriccio," "Salome" and "Elektra;" the latter he created with Austrian dramatist and poet Hugo von Hofmannsthal.
In 1893, Strauss married a soprano named Pauline de Ahna. During the Nazi regime, they banned one of his operas because it was a collaboration with a Jewish librettist named Stefan Zweig. His daughter-in-law was also Jewish, but Strauss used his influence to protect her and her children.
Listen to "Also sprach Zarathustra" by Richard Strauss courtesy of YouTube.