Composer Gustav Mahler born 150 years ago

The World

Today, music fans around the world remember the work of Gustav Mahler, who would be 150 years old today. Ljubljana, Slovenia kicks off “Mahler Year,” a year dedicated to the artist who lived and worked in the city from 1881-1882; and musicians in New York plan to kick off the NYC Summer Mahler Project. Not bad for a man who, in his lifetime, received little recognition for his 11 symphonies.

The Austrian-Czech born Mahler was such an acclaimed conductor that his work as a composer went largely unnoticed. But some say that his music has endured the test of time due to its substantial emotional impact. For one thing, Mahler’s symphonies are all quite long (the 4th symphony, his shortest, runs for around 55 minutes). On the broadness of his work, Mahler famously said that “the symphony should contain the whole world.”

Some say that if it wasn’t for the help of American conductor Leonard Bernstein in the 1960s, Mahler wouldn’t enjoy the domestic fanbase he does now. Celeste Headlee looks back at the music and life of the artist.

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