Gustav Mahler was born into a poor Jewish family in the town of Kalište in Bohemia on July 7, 1860. Mahler’s considerable musical talents, which he employed both as composer and conductor, were surpassed only by his ambition.
From conductor of the Court Opera he rose to become its Artistic Director. He was also Director of the Vienna Philharmonic 1898-1901, conductor of the Metropolitan Opera in New York from 1907, and starting in 1909 musical director of the New York Philharmonic Society as well. As a conductor Mahler distinguished himself by his fidelity to the score, as a composer he quickly moved from lied to symphony. He developed his own characteristic style, employed soloists and chorus, and broke away from the conventions of instrumental music as composed hitherto.
Mahler, who died on 18th May 1911 in Vienna, left the world symphonic songs, as well as ten symphonies, the last of which remained unfinished.