Richard Georg Strauss was born in Munich, Germany on June 11, 1864. He was an accomplished conductor and composer who began composing in the late Romantic era. Richard Strauss received his musical education from his father, Franz, who was also an accomplished musician and composer. Franz played several instruments but primarily the French horn. Richard wrote his first music at the age of six. As a child he attended Munich Court Orchestra rehearsals and also got private lessons from the assistant conductor there. At the age of ten Richard Strauss heard his first opera by Richard Wagner, who was also a German Composer, among other things, and was known for his operas. Strauss was very intrigued with his works which were considered to be progressive and Strauss’s father, who was a very conservative man, forbade him to study it, although it would eventually influence Strauss and his works. At the age of eighteen he went to Munich University and studied Philosophy and Art History, but oddly enough not music. He only stayed there for one year before going to Berlin. While in Berlin he became the assistant conductor to Hans von Bulow. Strauss learned to conduct just by watching Bulow in rehearsals. When Bulow resigned in 1885 from the Meiningen Orchestra he made Strauss the conductor.
Before the age of twenty, Strauss already had major premiers of two symphonies and a violin concerto. At age twenty six he began to write programmatic orchestral tone poems including Don Juan. This was influenced by the work of Richard Wagner, who he had admired in his younger years. A tone poem is a piece of orchestral music in a movement, where a poem, novel or painting is illustrated. Its intent is to inspire listeners to imagine scenes, images or moods. The first theme represents the Don’s first adventure. This is followed by a lyrical melody which marks his first love scene. At the age of thirty Strauss married the love of his life, Pauline de Ahna and they...
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