Mahler, Gustav

BORN 7 Jul 1860, Kalischt, Bohemia - DIED 18 May 1911, Wien: Sanatorium Löw, Mariannengasse 20
CAUSE OF DEATH typhoid fever
GRAVE LOCATION Wien: Grinzinger Friedhof, 19., An den langen Lüssen 33 (Gruppe 06, Reihe 7, Nummer 1)

Gustav Mahler was born into a Jewish family in Kalischt in Moravia, then part of the Austrian Empire. When he was 15 he went to the Conservatory in Vienna, where he studied piano under Julius Epstein, harmony under Robert Fuchs and composition under Franz Krenn. At Vienna University he studied history, philosophy and music.

His career as a conductor took him to Ljubljana, Vienna, Kassel, Prague, Leipzig and Budapest. In 1887 he attracted public attention when conducted Wagner's "Ring", replacing Arthur Nicklisch who had fallen ill. From 1891 until 1897 he worked for the Opera in Hamburg. In 1897 he became director of the Opera in Vienna, the most important position in music in Vienna. He produced classic opera's by Gluck and Mozart and worked together with Alfred Roller when he staged Beethoven's "Fidelio" and Wagner's "Ring".

In 1902 he married Alma Schindler, who was twenty years his junior and the stepdaughter of the painter Carl Moll. Gustav and Alma had two daughters, Maria Anna (who was callled 'Putzi' and died as a child in 1907) and Anna Justina ('Gucki', she became a sculptor). Criticism to his Jewish descent and his composition led to his resignation in 1907. He accepted an offer from the Metropolitan Opera in New York and worked there in 1908. But Alma was left behind in Europe and their marriage was falling apart. She had an affair and in 1910 he even consulted Sigmund Freud.

He signed a long term contract in New York and this time his family went with him. In 1909 he finished his Symphony No. 9, but he wouldn't live to see it performed. In February, 1911 he fell ill with a streptococcal blood infection. Mahler went to Paris where a new treatment had been developed, but he didn't respond to it and he died in May in Vienna, aged only 50 and leaving his "Symphony No. 10" unfinished. At his own request he was buried beside his daughter at Grinzing, Vienna. When he was buried the rain was pouring, but when the coffin was lowered the sun broke through.

• Daughter: Mahler, Anna Justina
• Wife: Mahler, Alma (1902-1911, Wien: Karlskirche)

Related persons
• cooperated with Bahr-Mildenburg, Anna von
• had a love affair with Bahr-Mildenburg, Anna von
• was a friend of Bauer-Lechner, Natalie
• was a friend of Berliner, Arnold
• visited Bloch-Bauer, Adele
• met Freud, Sigmund
• was admired by Gerstl, Richard
• has grave monument designed by Hoffmann, Josef
• had a love affair with Kurz, Selma
• is brother/sister of Mahler, Justine
• discovered Mayr, Richard
• cooperated with Morena, Berta
• cooperated with Moser, Anton
• cooperated with Roller, Alfred
• is uncle/aunt of Rosé, Alma
• knew Wagner, Cosima
• employed Walter, Bruno

11/5/1897Rudolf Mahler stages Wagner's "Lohengrin" at the Court Opera in Vienna. He was first engaged as musical director at the Court Opera and this was his first production. Hermann Winkelmann was Lohengrin and Louise Ehrenstein was Elsa. [Wagner, Richard]
8/10/1897Gustav Mahler is appointed general director of the Court Opera in Vienna. Beofre that he was engaged as musical director. 
7/11/1901First meeting between Gustav Mahler and Alma Schindler at the home of Bertha Zuckerkandl. He probably fell in love with her immediately because he asked her to marry him on 28 november. [Mahler, Alma]
19/12/1901Gustav Mahler orders his future wife Alma to give up composing. He was to marry her and he made his request by writing her a letter. In her diary Alma wrote that her heart stood still. She cried but quickly recovered afterwards. [Mahler, Alma]
16/5/1906Austrian premiere of "Salomé" by Richard Strauss in Graz. "Salome" had premiered shortly before in Dresden. The Austrian premiere took place in Graz because the censor in Vienna didn't approve. Jenny Korb sang the title part. Strauss himself conducted and Gustav and Alma Mahler were in the public. Puccini was also there. The performance was a huge succes. [Berg, Alban][Mahler, Alma][Puccini, Giacomo][Schönberg, Arnold][Strauss, Richard][Zemlinsky, Alexander von]
12/9/1910Premiere of Gustav Mahler's "Symphony No. 8" at the Musik-Festhalle in Munich. Impresario Emil Gutmann had hired the new Musik-Festhalle in Munich in the International Exhibition grounds near Theresiënhöhe. It had a capacity of 3,200. The premiere was a great success and the applause lasted for twenty minutes. It was the last time Mahler conducted a premiere of his own work because he died eight months later. The singers included Emma Bellwidt, Richard Mayr, Ottillie Metzger and Matha Winternitz-Dorda. [Mayr, Richard]
20/5/1928Bruno Walter conducts Mahler's Fourth Symphony in Paris. It was his debut as a conductor in Paris. Renée Destanges sang the soprano part. [Walter, Bruno]


The grave of Gustav Mahler (and his daughter Maria Anna) at the Grinzing Cemetery in Vienna.
Picture by androom (15 Aug 2006)


NRC Handelsblad, Dagbladunie, Rotterdam
Gustav Mahler - Wikipedia
Alma Mahler-Werfel - Wikipedia
Symphony No. 8 (Mahler) - Wikipedia

Mahler, Justine

Published: 14 Sep 2007
Last update: 21 Apr 2024