Lovers just as much as haters consider his composing to be the epitome of modern opera music. He coined the term “Tondichtung” (“tone poems”) for his orchestral program music.
Richard Strauss was born in 1864 to a wealthy musicians’ family (his mother was the grand-daughter of the founder of the famous Hacker-Pschorr brewery) and started composing at 6 years old.
Early on, he is influenced by Richard Wagner, and critics nowadays consider him to be his musical heir. Further influences include Liszt, whose concept for symphonic works, “in which the poetic idea also becomes the main musical element” he adopted.
With his operas Salome and Elektra, and with his tone poem Alpensinfonie, Richard Strauss enjoyed tremendous international success as an opera composer and melodist. To this day, almost all of his pieces have been successful – among the most well-known are the tone poem Thus spoke Zarathustra and the opera The Knight Of The Rose.
Strauss was also an outstanding director and theater manager. In 1920, he co-founded the now world-famous Salzburg Festival. He composed until a very old age and died in 1949, 85 years old, in his villa in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, where the Richard-Strauss-Institute still honours him.