"our esteemed Court Opera Director, Herr Mahler"
Gustav Mahler
Public DomainGustav Mahler
Moritz Nähr

     Gustav Mahler (1860-1911), one of Vienna's musical giants, was made conductor of the Vienna Court Opera in 1897. His tenure there was a stormy one. He was ackowledged as a genius in his presentation of opera, particularly in the works of Richard Wagner, Mozart, and Beethoven. He completed nine symphonies and shorter pieces that are considered some of the most important works of his day. His conversion to Catholicism notwithstanding, he was subjected to anti-Semitic attacks in the press and in Viennese society. Finally, due to the pressures of work and the attacks, he left the Court Opera in 1907. He left Vienna to conduct the New York Metropolitan Opera and later the New York Philharmonic. He died in 1911 from complications due to a defective heart valve.