4 September 1824 - 11 October 1896 (age 72)

A late starter, Bruckner only started composing seriously at 37, well past the age that Mozart died. He is best known for his symphonies, of which he composed nine.




The Man


The Bruckner Organ


Portrait of Bruckner


Born: Ansfelden, nr Linz, Austria 4 September 1824
Father: Anton, village schoolteacher and organist
Mother: Therese Helm (my namesake! but no relation)
Siblings: eldest of 11 children
Partners: none
Children: none
Died: 11 October 1896 in Vienna
Cause of death: old age (72)
Grave: at his request buried in the crypt under the organ of St Florian Church, Linz, Austria. see findagrave


Worked as a teacher, organist and composer.

Best known works:

  • 9 Symphonies
  • Masses
  • Motets
  • Choral works


- "They want me to write differently. Certainly I could, but I must not. God has chosen me from thousands and given me, of all people, this talent. It is to Him that I must give account. How then would I stand there before Almighty God, if I followed the others and not Him?"

- "Symphonic boaconstrictors" Brahms on Bruckner's symphonies

Bruckner in Art
an interesting compilation of art, caricatures, album covers, postage stamps etc.

Bruckner - The Man

- He was by all accounts a kind, good natured man.
- He came from humble origins and lacked social graces.
- His clothes were generally far too big and untidy.
- He was a deeply devout Christian..
- He was slightly above average height but rather overweight so he seemed shorter. He had blue eyes and a big nose. He kept his hair very short.
- He liked beer and was a hopeless romantic. He proposed marriage to many young ladies only to be always turned down. He never managed to get married.
- He was self critical of his work and often reworked his compositions so there are several versions of many of his works.
- For a period he suffered from numeromania, more commonly known now as obsessive compulsive disorder, during which he was obsessed by numbers. Ken Russell made a 50 minute film about it for ITV's South Bank Show.- 'The Strange Affliction of Anton Bruckner'.

A brief biography

- Childhood: His father was a teacher and organist and gave him his first lessons on the piano, organ and violin.
- By the age of 10 he sometimes deputised for his father as the church organist.
- Age 13: His father died and he was sent to the Augustinian monastery of St.Florian in Linz as a chorister and where he also studied the organ.
- Age 16: sent to teacher training school in Linz
- Age 21; Joins the teaching staff at St.Florian
- Age 24: Appointed organist at St.Florian
- Age 31: Appointed organist at Linz cathedral.
- Age 44: Professor of music theory at Vienna Conservatory. Premiere of his Symphony No1 - a disaster.
- Age 48: Visited London. Gave 6 organ recitals in the albert Hall and 5 at Crystal Palace
- Age 51: Appointed Professor of Music at Vienna University
- Age 60: His 7th Symphony brings him success at last.
- Age 72: Dies without managing to complete his 9th Symphony.

For more information about his life see the links below

Nachspiel in D minor
- played on The Bruckner Organ at St.Florian

The Bruckner Organ

- He had a lifelong passion for the organ.
- His father was the organist at their local church.
- He was renown as one of Europe's best organists and during his lifetime, like Bach, was better known as an organist than for his compositions.
- Strangely he left little or no compositions for the organ although his symphonies have much of the 'feel' of the organ.
- He was buried, in accordance with his wishes, in the vault underneath his beloved organ at St Florian in Linz. That organ is nown known as 'The Bruckner Organ'
- See and hear it here at this website

eBay finds

On eBay you will find bargains galore but more interestingly there is a treasure chest of old items. Out of print books, old recordings no longer available, memorabilia and goods no longer sold on the High Street.
To see what is currently on offer take a look at:

7th Symphony
excerpts played by the Cleveland Orchestra

Mass No 3

Ave Maria
sung by Norway's Schola Cantorum

Amazon Store
Books and CDs on Amazon.com (US)

Bruckner on facebook
Click the Facebook logo to visit the Anton Bruckner Radio page. 

Links, sources and where to go for more information

- Answers.com various reference site entries, including Wikipedia

ClassicalNet - interesting biographical article "The Eternal Student"

The Life of Anton Bruckner by Gabriel Engel (pdf)

The Bruckner Journal

The Bruckner Discography
also contains an excellent graphics gallery at:http://www.abruckner.com/articles/brucknerpicturegal/

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