Johannes Brahms was a German composer and pianist of the Romantic era, born on May 7, 1833, in Hamburg, Germany. He is regarded as one of the greatest composers of the 19th century, alongside Ludwig van Beethoven and Richard Wagner. Brahms' works are characterized by their emotional depth, intricate harmonies, and masterful use of counterpoint. Brahms was the son of a double bass player in the Hamburg Philharmonic Society, and his parents recognized his musical talents at a young age. He began his studies with pianist Eduard Marxsen, who taught him composition and introduced him to the works of Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven. Brahms quickly developed a reputation as a prodigy, and by the age of 16, he was performing in public concerts.
His early works included solo piano pieces, chamber music, and songs, but he is best known for his symphonies. His first symphony, completed in 1876, was met with both critical acclaim and controversy. Brahms had taken over a decade to complete the work, and some critics accused him of being too conservative and too reliant on classical forms. However, others praised the symphony for its emotional depth and technical mastery. Brahms' later works included the "German Requiem," a choral work that he dedicated to his mother, and his fourth and final symphony, which he completed in 1885. He also composed a number of concertos, including the famous "Violin Concerto in D Major."
Brahms was a frequent visitor to Vienna, where he became close friends with the famous critic Eduard Hanslick and the composer Johann Strauss II.
Brahms died on April 3, 1897, at the age of 63, in Vienna. He left behind a legacy of masterful compositions that continue to be celebrated today.