Richard Strauss

Richard Strauss' career spanned one of the most chaotic periods in political, social, and cultural history of the world, but the composer retained his essentially Romantic aesthetic even into the 1940's. He is most known for his operas and lieder, especially Der Rosenkavalier, Salmoe and his Four Last Songs.

Strauss was the son of Franz Joseph Strauss, the principal hornist in the Munich Court Orchestra. Strauss demonstrated musical aptitude at an early age, and extensive training in piano, violin, theory, harmony, and orchestration equipped him to produce music of extraordinary polish and maturity by the time he reached adulthood.

From the beginning of Strauss' career as a composer, it was evident that the orchestra was his natural medium. In such works as Don Juan, Ein Heldenleben, and Also sprach Zarathustra -  the composer's most readily recognizable music - Strauss displayed his gift for exploiting the coloristic possibilities of the orchestra as a dramatic device.

With the arrival of the twentieth century, after becoming conductor at Berlin's Hofoper, Strauss' interest turned more fully to opera, resulting in a body of unforgettable works that have long been fixtures of the repertoire: Salome, Elektra, and Der Rosenkavalier are just a few of his best-known efforts for the stage.