Gustav Mahler

On this date in 1860, Gustav Mahler was born in Austrian Bohemia. Although his family was Jewish, Mahler is described as a life-long agnostic (Who's Who in Hell edited by Warren Allen Smith). Mahler converted to Catholicism in name only, in order to be named director of the Court Opera of Vienna. He reportedly commented after the service was over: "I've just changed my coat." Mahler wrote ten symphonies and many songs, although working full-time as conductor. A great personal tragedy was the 1907 death of his daughter from scarlet fever. He left Austria during an anti-semitic campaign in 1907 for work in New York, summering in Europe. D. 1911.

Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor

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