Johannes Brahms (1833–1897)

The young Hamburg native and gifted pianist Johannes Brahms was already performing in public during his studies.

On a concert tour in 1853 he met the violinist Joseph Joachim, who became his close friend from this time on. In Düsseldorf, Brahms then made the momentous acquaintance of Robert and Clara Schumann. Impressed by Brahms’ talent, Schumann heralded the coming of the young composer in his “Neue Zeitschrift für Musik” and introduced him to the publisher Breitkopf & Härtel, who released his first compositions. After working as a conductor at the court of Detmold, Brahms chose Vienna as his permanent residence in 1862. In 1868 he made his breakthrough as a composer with the world premiere of the Deutsches Requiem. The lucrative publishing and concert royalties allowed him to devote himself to music as an independent musician. Many honors testify to his great fame and recognition.

Chamber music, piano pieces and songs initially constituted the core of his oeuvre. He focused relatively late on other standard genres of the time such as the symphony and the string quartet. His works stand out technically through a dense web of motivic interrelations in the framework of the transmitted forms that often integrate contrapuntal work as well. Brahms' aesthetic views placed him in a contrary position to the “New German School” centered around Liszt and Wagner.