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MAHLER, GUSTAV:

Austrian composer; born at Kalischt, Bohemia, July 7, 1860; studied at the gymnasiums at Iglau and Prague, and entered the University of Vienna in 1877. He attended also the conservatorium in that city, studying pianoforte with Epstein, and composition and counterpoint with Bruckner. After conducting theater orchestras at Hall (Upper Austria), Laibach, and Cassel (where he directed the grand musical festival as a leavetaking), he was in 1885 appointed the successor of Anton Seidl at Prague, where, among other works, he conducted Wagner's "Ring der Nibelungen," "Meistersinger," and "Tristan und Isolde," the symphony of Bruckner, and the Ninth Symphony of Beethoven. From 1886 to 1888 he was kapellmeister at the Stadttheater in Leipsic, where, in the absence of Nikisch, he conducted the opera for six months. During the following years he contributed, by his splendid ability and skilful management, to bring about a thorough reorganization of the Royal Opera at Budapest, to which place he had been called in 1888. In 1891 he was appointed conductor at the Stadttheater in Hamburg, and held this position until 1897, when he accepted the position of kapellmeister of the Royal Opera, Vienna, succeeding Wilhelm Jahn as director in October of the same year. Soon thereafter he was converted to Christianity.

While generally recognized as one of the greatest musical leaders of the day, Mahler has, within the past few years, aroused considerable interest also by his compositions, among which the following are the most noteworthy: "Die Drei Pintos," an opera (Leipsic, 1888); symphony in D major (performed at Budapest in 1891, and also at the Weimar Music Festival); two symphonies, C minor (1895) and F major (1896); "Humoreske," for orchestra; "Das Klagende Lied," for soli, choir, and orchestra; three books of songs.

Bibliography:
  • Riemann, Musik-Lexikon;
  • Baker, Biographical Dictionary of Musicians.
S. J. So.
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