Mahler was highly talented: at the age of six he taught music and joined the converatory at age 15 in Vienna. His unrivaled career as a conductor and opera house director started at the age of 20. After engagements in Ljubljiana, Kassel, Prague, Leipzig, Budapest and Hamburg he arrived in Vienna at the Hofburg (now State Opera).
During his Wiener Jahre 1897 - 1907 Gustav Mahler was on the zenith of his career. Life at the opera was very traditional until he took over the reign and instigated groundbreaking reforms: he changed the antiquated stage decor as well as the fixed positioning of opera singers. He merged stage design, music and act together to form a dramatic holistic experience. His changes set the beginning of modern staging of operas.
After moving to Vienna he converted to catholicism. In March 1902 he married Alma Schindler, whom he ardently admired. Alma was phascinated by Gustav's personality and accomplishments as a musician. An artist in her own right Alma grew up amidst accomplished artists, such as Gustav Klimt and Max Klinger. Gustav and Alma had two daughters: Maria Anna (*1902), who died a tragic death in 1907 and Anna Justine (*1904).
1908 Mahler was offered a position at the Metropolitan Opera in New York and returned to Viena in 1911. Gustav Mahler died that very year on May 18.
Alma Mahler established herself as one of Vienna's most influential hostesses in "artists salons". She married Walter Gropius and later Franz Werfel, she however always was celebrated as Gustav Mahler's widow.
On the right sight of the screen you'll find podcasts with more information on the life of Gustav Mahler.