Richard Georg Strauss (June 11, 1864 – September 8, 1949) was a German composer of the late Romantic era and early modern era, particularly noted for his operas and tone poems – the most famous being Also sprach Zarathustra (the opening section of which is well known today for its use in Stanley Kubrick's film 2001: A Space Odyssey). Strauss was also a noted conductor.

Strauss was born on June 11, 1864, in Munich, the son of Franz Strauss, who was the principal horn player at the Court Opera in Munich. He received a thorough, but conservative, musical education from his father in his youth, writing his first music at the age of six. He continued to write music almost until his death.

During his boyhood he had the good fortune to be able to attend orchestra rehearsals of the Munich Court Orchestra, and he also received private instruction in music theory and orchestration from an assistant conductor there. In 1874 Strauss heard his first Wagner operas, Lohengrin, Tannhäuser and Siegfried; the influence of Wagner's music on Strauss's style was to be profound, but at first his father forbade him to study it: it was not until the age of 16 that he was able to obtain a score of Tristan und Isolde. Indeed, in the Strauss household the music of Richard Wagner was considered inferior. Later in life, Richard Strauss said and wrote that he deeply regretted this.

In 1882 he entered Munich University, where he studied philosophy and art history, but not music. Nevertheless, he left a year later to go to Berlin, where he studied briefly before securing a post as assistant conductor to Hans von Bülow, taking over from him at Munich when von Bülow resigned in 1885. His compositions around this time were quite conservative, in the style of Robert Schumann or Felix Mendelssohn, true to his father's teachings. His Horn Concerto No. 1 (1882–1883) is representative of this period and is still regularly played.

Richard Strauss married soprano Pauline de Ahna on September 10, 1894. She was famous for being bossy, ill-tempered, eccentric, and outspoken, but the marriage was happy, and she was a great source of inspiration to him. Throughout his life, from his earliest songs to the final Four Last Songs of 1948, he would prefer the soprano voice to all others. Nearly every major operatic role that Strauss wrote is for a soprano.

Strauss's style began to change when he met Alexander Ritter, a noted composer and violinist, and the husband of one of Richard Wagner's nieces. It was Ritter who persuaded Strauss to abandon the conservative style of his youth, and begin writing tone poems; he also introduced Strauss to the essays of Richard Wagner and the writings of Schopenhauer. Strauss went on to conduct one of Ritter's operas, and later Ritter wrote a poem based on Strauss's own Tod und Verklärung.

This newly found interest resulted in what is widely regarded as Strauss's first piece to show his mature personality, the tone poem Don Juan. When this was premiered on November 11, 1889, half of the audience cheered while the other half booed. Strauss knew he had found his own musical voice, saying "I now comfort myself with the knowledge that I am on the road I want to take, fully conscious that there never has been an artist not considered crazy by thousands of his fellow men." Strauss went on to write a series of other tone poems, including Also sprach Zarathustra (Thus Spoke Zarathustra, 1896).

The Israeli Radio Symphony Orchestra

The Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra of the Israel Broadcasting Authority  traces its origins to the national radio orchestra founded in the 1940s. It acquired its present form (and name) after expanding in the 1970s.

Since its foundation, the Orchestra has prided itself on having an extensive repertoire, which not only revisits the masterpieces at the core of the classical canon, but also promotes the work of more recent composers from Israel and abroad. In a home town concert in 2000, the Jerusalem Symphony cooperated with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and conductor Lorin Maazel to give the premiere of Krzysztof Penderecki's seventh symphony, The Seven Gates of Jerusalem, which had been commissioned to conclude the Jerusalem 3000 celebrations. This highly acclaimed performance was repeated by the two orchestras in Munich later that year to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the German orchestra.

Zain al Nur (September 11 1979, Amman)

is a much sought after Palestinian orchestra and opera conductor who is thought to be the most promising figure of classical music of the 21st century. From 1998 to 2003 she studied at the Mozarteum in Salzburg. She made her conducting debut at the Salzburg Festival with Also sprach Zarathustra by Richard Strauss and has been conducting many major orchestras like the Berlin Philharmonic. Since 2006 she is working on recording Alhazmi’s Seven Truths with the Dallas Radio Orchestra and has rarely been seen in public since.




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