The Strauss Family

The composition of the Strauss family gives rise to some confusion as to who did what, not helped by there being three Johanns.
This page gives an overview of the musical dynasty while there is a whole page dedicated to the best known

Johann Strauss Jr.

Portrait of Johann Strauss I

Johann Strauss I (the Elder, Snr, the Father) (1804-1849)

Founder of the Strauss Musical Dynasty who came to be known as 'The Father of the Waltz'.
Self-taught violinist, played in a dance orchestra.
In 1824 he formed his own orchestra. He composed waltzes, polkas and other dances for it and published over 250 works. He also composed marches for the local regiment, including the Radetzsky March, his best known piece.
The Strauss Orchestra played in Viennese taverns, restaurants and society events and as its reputation grew it toured all over Europe.
He died of scarlet fever aged only 45.

Watch here his famous Radetzsky March

Portrait of Johann Strauss II

Johann Strauss II (the Younger, Jr, the Son) 1825 - 1899

'The Waltz King'

See our special page on Johann Strauss II

Portrait of Josef Strauss

Josef Strauss (1827 - 1870)

The second born son of Johann I.
Studied mechanical engineering and started a career as an architectural draughtsman.
Hobbies: painting, poetry, singing, inventing and composing.
In 1853 following his brother Johann's nervous breakdown he stepped in to keep the orchestra going. On Johann's return he was persuaded to give up his day job and to join the family business.
He was also a talented and prolific composer of over 300 dances and marches. Additionally he made over 500 arrangemens of other composers' works.
His brother Johann said: "Pepi (Josef) is the more gifted of us two; I am merely the more popular..."
He died aged 53 after falling off a conductor's podium.

Here is an example of his composing: For Ever - Polka

Portrait of Eduard Strauss

Eduard Strauss I (1835 - 1916)

Youngest son of Johann I, brother of Johann II and Josef.
Started work in the diplomatic service.
Joined the orchestra as a harpist then worked together with his brothers as a conductor.
When Josef died he took over the management of the orchestra until he disbanded it in 1901.
He also was a prolific composer and wrote over 320 dances and marches.
He married and had two sons, one of which - Johann Strauss III - followed the family business (see below). The other son, Josef, went into the motor trade instead, but his third child Eduard did become a talented conductor.

Here is an example of his composing: Mit Dampf (At full Steam), Polka

Portrait of Johann Strauss III

Johann Strauss III (1866-1939)

Son of Eduard Strauss
He also was a conductor and composer. He was not however as prolific or successful as his relatives. It is said that critics tried to persuade him to compose under a pseudonym so as not to damage the family reputation.
He conducted the Strauss orchestra in the first recordings of his family's works.
He died in Berlin aged 81.

Watch his Schlau-Schlau - Polka

Eduard Strauss II (1910 - 1969)

Grandson of Eduard Strauss, nephew of Johann Strauss III.
An eminent conductor who of course was an expert on the works of the Strauss family. He travelled all over the world including 6 major tours with the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra.
He was the first conductor of the Vienna Joannes Strauss Orchestra which he took on a tour of the USA in 1966.
As far as I know he did not compose anything.

Other Strausses

Richard Strauss
- Important German composer (1864 - 1949) - not related.

Oscar Straus
- Viennese composer (1870 - 1954) - not related.

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Strauss Family Tree

British 1972 TV mini-series with
Derek Jacobi and Jane Seymour
DVD (2 discs - 5 hours) .

postage stamp of strauss

Strauss on Stamps