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Austrian composer Johann Baptist Strauss, also known as Johann Strauss Jr, Johann Strauss the Son, Johann Strauss II and The Waltz King, was born in St Ulrich on 25 October 1825. He was the eldest of Johann Strauss the Elder and Maria Anna Streim's three sons. His younger brothers were Josef Strauss and Eduard Strauss.
Although his father didn't want his son to study music, he learnt to play the violin secretly, from Franz Amon, the first violinist in his father's orchestra. Later he also studied with Joachim Hoffmann, Joseph Drechsler and Anton Kollmann.
He found it difficult to perform, initially, because of his father's influence, but he eventually became far better known than his father as a waltz composer, and toured Austria-Hungary, Poland, Germany, Russia and the USA.
Johann Strauss II died in Vienna on 3 June 1899.
CD Spotlight. A Kiss from the Queen - Johann Strauss II's only opera, 'Ritter Pásmán', heard by Gerald Fenech. '... vibrantly performed by the Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra and finely conducted by Alfred Walter.'
CD Spotlight. Hard to Resist - Johann Strauss Junior's 'Eine Nacht in Venedig', arranged by Erich Wolfgang Korngold and heard by Gerald Fenech. 'Marius Burkert and his fine team of soloists and chorus exude a performance that has subtlety and charm, and the vivid freshness of Korngold's arrangement is brought out with a wistful elan ...'
CD Spotlight. Improvisatory Freedom - Gerald Fenech listens to pianist Myron Romanul. 'Romanul's playing brims with an expressive power that generates its own excitement and self-belief ...'
Ensemble. Boundless Energy - Hungarian pianist János Balázs and the Cziffra Festival Chamber Orchestra, heard in Bratislava by Anett Fodor
CD Spotlight. Joyous Occasions - Music by members of the Strauss family delights Gerald Fenech. 'A thoroughly stimulating issue, dashingly performed by Estonian forces conducted by the veteran Neeme Järvi ...'
Ensemble. Terrific Movement and Zip - Opera Warwick's 'Die Fledermaus', reviewed by Roderic Dunnett
Ensemble. Two Bats - 'Die Fledermaus' on Twelfth Night, reviewed by Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. A New Year's Eve with 'Die Fledermaus' - Giuseppe Pennisi reports from Rome
Ensemble. The Joy of Operetta - Giuseppe Pennisi visits Ravenna for a trilogy of Danube stage works
Ensemble. A Composer's Christmas - The Cann Twins, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Beauty of Tone - Danill Trifonov's prizewinner's concert from the Arthur Rubinstein Piano Master Competition, reviewed by Bill Newman
Ensemble. Plenty to Bite Into - Derby Concert Orchestra celebrates Christmas, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Seated on a Cloud - Vadim Gluzman and the London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Vassily Sinaisky, reviewed by Bill Newman
Ensemble. A Total Delight - The Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood, heard by Lawrence Budmen
Ensemble. In Nimble Fashion - Ohio Light Opera's 'The Queen's Lace Handkerchief', reviewed by Kelly Ferjutz