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Richard Strauss (11 June 1864 – 8 September 1949) was a German composer and conductor best known for his tone poems and operas. Considered a leading composer of the late Romantic and early modern eras, he has been described as a successor of Richard Wagner and Franz Liszt.
Strauss was born in Munich, Germany, to a musical family. His father, Franz Strauss, was a horn player in the Munich Court Orchestra and his mother, Josephine Pschorr, was from a wealthy brewing family. Strauss began composing at a young age and studied music at the Munich Conservatory.
In 1886, Strauss was appointed Kapellmeister (conductor) at the Munich Court Opera. He held this position for two years, during which time he conducted the premieres of several of his own operas, including Salome and Elektra. In 1889, Strauss resigned from his position at the Munich Court Opera and devoted himself to composing.
Strauss's early works were influenced by the music of Wagner and Liszt. However, he soon developed his own unique style, which was characterized by its use of complex harmonies, orchestration, and melodies. Strauss's tone poems, such as Don Juan, Tod und Verklärung, and Also sprach Zarathustra, are some of the most famous examples of orchestral music from the late 19th century.
Strauss's operas are also highly regarded. His most famous operas include Salome, Elektra, Der Rosenkavalier, and Die Frau ohne Schatten. These operas are known for their dramatic intensity, their use of symbolism, and their innovative use of music.
Strauss continued to compose and conduct until his death in 1949. He was one of the most important composers of the late Romantic and early modern eras. His music is still performed and enjoyed by audiences all over the world.