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Gustav Mahler

Early Starter

When Gustav Mahler was six years old, he discovered a piano in his grandmother's attic. He had his first public performance four years later.1)


The Mahlers emigrated from eastern Bohemia and settled in the German town of Kalit.2)

Vienna Conservatory

In 1878, Mahler graduated from the Vienna Conservatory. Unfortunately, few of his student compositions have survived, so it's uncertain what he would have sounded like at the time.3)


Following his employment at the Leipzig Opera, Mahler relocated to Prague in 1885 to assume a position at the Neues Deutsches Theater (New German Theater).4)

Symphonic Trilogy

Gustav Mahler's composition career can be split into three “creative” phases, each of which resulted in a “symphonic trilogy”.5)

First Creative Period

His three symphonies were very different during his first creative era. Symphony No. 1 in D Major (1888) consisted of four movements, with the fifth being omitted, and is commonly regarded as an autobiography of his life. The upbeat opening is followed by “The Funeral March in the Manner of Callot,” and the piece concludes with a beautiful conclusion.6)

Second Creative Period

Resurrection is the common title for Mahler's Symphony No. 2 (1894). It begins with death and culminates in a celebration of immortality.7)

Third Creative Period

In six movements, Symphony No. 3 in D Major (1896) portrays a “Dionysian picture of a grand chain of existence”.8)

Vienna Court Opera

In 1897, Mahler was appointed director of the Vienna Court Opera, a position he would maintain for the next ten years. It was a trying moment for Mahler, who had to show his German cultural credentials on several occasions to placate his employers. He accomplished this by conducting some thunderous Wagner concerts.9)

New York

At the turn of the century, Mahler moved to the United States to become the director of New York's Metropolitan Opera and the New York Philharmonic.10)

Carnegie Hall

Mahler gave his final concert at New York's Carnegie Hall on February 21, 1911. He became extremely ill as a result of the incident and was confined to his bed. He returned to Vienna, where he died on May 18, 1911.11)

Leonard Bernstein

Following the devastation of World War I, some judged Mahler's emotionally charged soundscapes to be out of sync with the broader tone of the moment. Leonard Bernstein, a huge devotee, would frequently claim that he rekindled his passion in the composer beginning in 1960.12)

Eugene Ormandy

After Mahler's death, another ardent advocate of his work was the Hungarian/American conductor Eugene Ormandy. In this photograph, he conducts Mahler's 10th Symphony with the London Symphony Orchestra in 1966.13)

Daniel Harding

Daniel Harding, a British conductor, conducts the Mahler Chamber Orchestra at the Culture and Congress Centre in Lucerne, Switzerland, during the Lucerne Festival in 2006.14)

Simon Rattle

On his first engagement with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir Simon Rattle takes a bow after completing Mahler's 5th Symphony. From his days with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra onwards, his renditions of Mahler symphonies have become legendary.15)

Seiji Ozawa

In 2006, Seiji Ozawa, director of the Vienna State Opera Hall, conducts Mahler's Symphony No. 2 “Resurrection.” The Resurrection is one of Mahler's most difficult and rewarding works, a massive meditation on the afterlife with some genuinely terrible sounds.16)

gustav_mahler.txt · Last modified: 2022/01/28 01:21 by eziothekilla34