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 Carl Michael Ziehrer

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Carl Michael Ziehrer

  • Birth 2 May 1843 Vienna, Wien Stadt, Vienna (Wien), Austria
  • Death 14 Nov 1922 Vienna, Wien Stadt, Vienna (Wien), Austria
  • Burial Vienna, Wien Stadt, Vienna (Wien), Austria
  • Plot Section 32 C, No. 1
  • Memorial ID 12180319

Composer, Conductor. A prominent figure during the "golden age" of Viennese light music. He wrote over 600 compositions, including 16 operettas, but only a handful are heard today. The son of a prosperous hatmaker, he studied at the Vienna Conservatory and made his conducting debut in 1863. He was initially promoted by the publisher Haslinger as a rival to the famous Strauss brothers (Johann, Josef, and Eduard), but his early music found little favor. Instead he supported himself as a military bandmaster and as founding editor of the journal "Deutsche Musik-Zeitung". In 1878 he formed a dance music ensemble with disgruntled ex-Strauss players and unwisely called it "Formerly the Eduard Strauss Orchestra"; Strauss filed suit and the resulting bad publicity prompted Ziehrer to leave Austria for a few years. He finally found recognition - and his own voice as a composer - conducting the musicians of Vienna's Hoch-und Deutschmeister Regiment (1885 to 1893), which he turned into one of the finest military bands in Europe. His experience with martial music added swagger to his already upbeat style and most of his best known dances were written during this period: the waltzes "Viennese Girls" (1888), "Nature Singers" (1890), "Wiener Burger" (1891), and "Mountain Children" (1892), and the polka "Women's Logic" (1893). In 1893 Ziehrer and his band were chosen to represent Austria at the Chicago World Fair; emboldened by their success, he took them on an unauthorized tour of the US and was fired for overstaying his visit. Back in Vienna he launched the new Ziehrer Dance Orchestra to again challenge Eduard Strauss on his own turf. Younger audiences liked his brash, highly rhythmic take on the waltz and by the end of the decade he had overtaken his old adversary in popularity. As if to symbolize the shift in public taste, just weeks after Johann Strauss's death in 1899 Ziehrer enjoyed the greatest triumph of his career with the operetta "Die Landstreicher" ("The Tramps"), which ran for a record-breaking 1500 performances. This was followed by the stage hits "Die drei Wunsche" (1901) and "Der Fremdenfuhrer" (1902). In 1908 Emperor Franz Josef appointed him Music Director of the Imperial Court Balls, a post previously held only by members of the Strauss family. He was the last to bear that title. The collapse of the Habsburg Monarchy in 1918 effectively brought Ziehrer's world to an end and he died poor and neglected in Vienna.

Bio by: Bobb Edwards





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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Wolfgang Ilgner
  • Added: 27 Oct 2005
  • Find A Grave Memorial 12180319
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Carl Michael Ziehrer (2 May 1843–14 Nov 1922), Find A Grave Memorial no. 12180319, citing Zentralfriedhof, Vienna, Wien Stadt, Vienna (Wien), Austria ; Maintained by Find A Grave .