Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) was a late-Romantic composer and one of the leading conductors of his generation. He was born to a Jewish family in the village of Kaliste in Bohemia, in what was then the Austrian Empire, now Kaliste is in the Czech Republic.
As a composer, Gustav Mahler acted as a bridge between the 19th-century Austro-German tradition and the modernism of the early 20th century. While in his lifetime his status as a conductor was established beyond question, his own music gained wide popularity only after periods of relative neglect which included a ban on its performance in much of Europe during the Second World War era.
Venice, Zattere by Carl Moll (1926)
Gustav Mahler's oeuvre is relatively small; for much of his life composing was necessarily a part-time activity while he earned his living as a conductor. Aside from early works such as a movement from a piano quartet, composed when he was a student in Vienna, Gustav Mahler's works are designed for large orchestral forces, symphonic choruses and operatic soloists.
These works were often controversial when first performed, and several were slow to receive critical and popular approval. Some of Gustav Mahler's immediate musical successors included the composers of the Second Viennese School, notably Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951), Alban Berg (1885-1935) and Anton Webern (1883-1945).
Gustav Mahler Festival Amsterdam 2020
In 2020 the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam (the Netherlands) organizes the third Gustav Mahler Festival in her history. By that time it will be exactly 100 years since the first Mahler Festival Amsterdam 1920 and 25 years after the legendary Mahler Festival Amsterdam 1995. The Mahler Festival Amsterdam 2020 will bring together four of the best orchestras in the world that once were conducted by Gustav Mahler himself. The four orchestras will play all of Gustav Mahler’s symphonies.
Gustav Mahler by Emil Orlik (1902)
Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
The Amsterdam Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (RCO/KCO) is one of the very best orchestras in the world. Time and time again, critics have lauded its unique sound, which clearly stands out among thousands of others. Although sound is difficult to describe in words, the RCO’s string section has been called ‘velvety’, the sound of the brass ‘golden’, the timbre of the woodwinds ‘distinctly personal’ and the percussion have an international reputation.
The Main Hall of the Amsterdam Royal Concertgebouw seats 1,974 and is 44 metres long, 28 metres wide and 17 metres high. Its reverberation time is 2.2 seconds with audience, making it ideal for the late Romantic repertoire such as Gustav Mahler.