Richard Strauss, the German composer, was a leading conductor as well as a composer.
The best known of his compositions is the popular opening to the movie 2001 Space Odyssey.
He composed the Olympic hymn for the 1936 Berlin Olympics and his music was used as propaganda by the Third Reich without his approval. After the war he was cleared of any collaboration with the Nazis.
Born: Richard Georg Strauss, 11 June 1864, Munich, Germany
Father: Franz Strauss, horn player
Mother: Josephine Pschorr Strauss, heiress of Pschorr beer.
Siblings: sister, Johanna
Wife: Pauline de Ahna, opera singer
Children: son, Franz
Died: 8 September 1949, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
Cause of death: kidney failure.
Grave: Richard Strauss Villa, Garmisch. see findagrave
17 operas including:
- Der Rosenkavalier
plus various vocal and choral works
- Josephslegende (The Legend of Joseph)
- Schlagobers (Whipped Cream)
- Don Juan
- Also sprach Zarathustra (Thus Spake Zarathustra)
- Symphonia Domestica
- 2 Symphonies
- Japanese Festival Music
- 10 concertos including for Cello, for Horn, for Clarinet, for Oboe, for Piano.
- Sonata for Cello and Piano in F
- Violin Sonata in E-flat
- Age 4: First piano lessons.
- Age 6: began composing
- Age 17: Premiere of his Symphony in D Minor in Dresden.
- Age 18-19: Attended University of Munich, studying philosophy.
- Age 21: Appointed assistant conductor of the Meiningen Court Orchestra and a year later became its principal conductor.
- Age 22-25: Assistant conductor of the Munich Court Opera.
- Age 25-26: Musical assistant for the Bayreuth Festivals.
- Age 25 -30: Principal conductor of the Weimar Court Orchestra.
- Age 30: Married the soprano Pauline de Ahna who he had met three years previously.
- Age 30: Guntram, his first opera, premiered at Weimar.
- Age 30-31: Conductor with the Berlin Philharmonic.
- Age 34-36: Music director of the Berlin Royal Opera.
- Age 37: His second opera Feuersnot premiered in Dresden.
- Age 40: His Symphonia Domestica premiered in New York.
- Age 41: (1905) His opera Salome premiered in Dresden. Contoversial but highy successful.
- Age 43: Co-founded the Salzburg Festival.
- Age 45-50: Co-director of the Vienna Opera.
- Age 59-61: (1933) The Nazis made him president of the Third Reich Music Chamber and president of the Fedreation of German Composers without his consent. The Nazis used his music in their propaganda but he opposed them on many matters. During the war he was placed under house arrest.
- Age 80: After the war he was cleared of charges of Nazi collaboration. In 1946 he composed Metamorphosen after hearing that all of Germany's great opera houses, including his beloved Dresden, had been destroyed by Allied bombings.
You can read an interesting account of the private and social life of Richard Strauss in this PDF
This is a clip from the 1994 documentary "The Art of Conducting: Great Conductors of the Past." Richard Strauss is conducting the Vienna Philharmonic in a performance of Till Eulenspiegel. It's amusing that he could be conducting such great music while looking so extremely bored.
- The human voice is the most beautiful instrument of all, but it is the most difficult to play.
- Never look at the trombones. You'll only encourage them.
- I may not be a first-rate composer, but I am a first-class second-rate composer.
- He'd be better off shoveling snow.-- about Arnold Schoenberg.
- Of everything I have written, it’s the songs I like best.
- I have more skill, but he is greater. - about Sibelius
An old documentary illustrating his relationship with the Third Reich and his last years.
Richard Strauss Online Official site by his grandchildren
Richard Strauss Institute in his home in Garmisch, now a private museum
Answers.com various reference sites including Wikipedia
ClassicalNet a brief bio