About Gustav Mahler

Gustav Mahler was born on July 7, 1860, to a Jewish family living in Bohemia, an area now part of the Czech Republic. His family moved around when he was a child and after settling in the town of Jihlava, the family noticed that he had a remarkable talent when it came to musical instruments. He was only six when he began taking piano lessons.

Mahler's talent continued to grow and when he was fifteen he attended the Vienna Conservatory. He kept studying piano while in school and later went on to attend classes at Vienna University. He completed his first composition while in college, but grew disheartened when it failed to place at a large competition. He began focusing on work instead and spent the next eight years serving as conductors for orchestras around the country.

He spent six years in Hamburg at the Hamburg Opera, but while there his younger brother killed himself and some believe this deeply impacted the composer. Not long after leaving Hamburg, he became director of the Vienna Opera. That served to foster his reputation and spread word of his work. He also converted to Catholicism during this time period.

His move to the Vienna Opera seemed to help him with his composing. Mahler reworked Schumann's Symphony Number 2 and the Symphony Number 4. He also created some of his own works including Manon and Lohengrin. In 1902 he finally married and his new wife Alma was a composer as well, though Mahler refused to let her work on her own music. They had two daughters, only one of which survived past the age of five.

Gustav Mahler would later move to the New York Philharmonic Orchestra and complete Symphony Number 9 and Song of the Earth. He did one last concert while sick with a strep infection before going back to Europe. Just a few months after arriving in Vienna, Mahler died from complications relating to his strep infection. He left behind Symphony Number 10, which he was working on just before he died.

The Gustav Mahler entry at Wikipedia is a good starting point to learn more information. In addition to a lengthy biography, they also have a listing of his work and references to him in popular culture. The Classical Music Page also has a lengthy biography of Gustav Mahler on their website.

One of the best resources is The Mahler Archives, which lists all information pertaining to the composer including articles and research papers done about him and interviews with leading professional musicians.

This page on Gustav Mahler is unique because users can listen to his work right on their home computer. Individuals can also take a look at the International Gustav Mahler Society. The society is dedicated to preserving his work and they even have a forum where users can discuss his music.

Other useful resources include Gustav Mahler at My Pages, Classical Composer Biography: Gustav Mahler, Classical Net, the Classical Composers Database, the Classical Music Dictionary, and Gustav Mahler, which includes samples of his music.