May 7th: Johannes Brahms is born in Hamburg. His grandfather was an inn-keeper in the small town of Heide in Holstein. His father gave up the family tradition in order to become a professional musician, but could only reach a modest standard of living. In 1830, at the age of 24, he married Christiana Nissen, who was 17 years older. The couple had 3 children, Johannes was the second.
Piano tuition by Otto Friedrich Willibald Cossel. He accompanied his father when he played dance music in pubs.|
First public recital as a pianist. Johannes is celebrated as a prodigy and booked for a tour through the United States. His teacher Cossel foiled this project. Johannes gets tuition from the famous teacher Eduard Marxsen. |
At the age of 20 Brahms leaves Hamburg and starts concert tours with the young Hungarian violinist E. Reményi. In Hanover he gets to know the violinist Joseph Joachim, in Weimar Franz Liszt and in Düsseldorf Robert and Clara Schumann. Schumann writes an essay "Neue Bahnen" (= New Directions) in which he heralds Brahms as the coming master of music.
In a fit of insanity Schumann tries to commit suicide; four days later he is taken to a psychiatric nursing home. He dies there on July 29th, 1856. Brahms's affection for Clara developed into a passion. He lived in her household and accompanied her on concert tours. During her marriage to Robert Clara had given birth to 7 children. There was a deep love between Brahms and Clara (who was 14 years older), but he left her in 1856. However, he kept up a lasting friendship.
Brahms works at the court of Detmold. He makes his first experiences as conductor of an orchestra.
In Göttingen Brahms gets to know Agathe von Siebold. They get engaged, but the engagement is broken off by Brahms.
Brahms applies for the post of conductor of the Singakademie as well as for the post of conductor of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Hamburg. That position was given to the singer Julius Stockhausen. On October 8th 1862 he travels to Vienna where he stays for 8 months. He gives numerous concerts and makes new friends.
On his return to Hamburg he learns that he has been appointed conductor of the Vienna Singakademie (cf."Musik-Geschichte / History of Music"). He goes back to Vienna, but resigns in 1864.
Brahms's mother dies. He finishes his German Requiem, op.50.|
His father remarries. He has a positive relationship with his stepmother.
Brahms becomes director of the Vienna Singverein (cf. "Musik-Geschichte / History of Music") and keeps this post till 1875. He finds lodgings in Karlsgasse.
He finishes his 1st symphony, which is first performed at Karlsruhe on November 4th.
First summer holiday at Pörtschach. Beethoven writes his 2nd symphony, D major, op.73. It is first performed in Vienna, on December 30th.
Second stay at Pörtschach (cf. "Österreich-Lexikon / Encyclopedia for Austria"). Brahms composes the Violin Concerto in D major, op.77. He makes his first journey to Italy (9 altogether) with his doctor friend Theodor Billroth (cf. "Österreich-Lexikon / Encyclopedia for Austria").
The University of Breslau (now: Wroclaw) awards him the honorary doctorate.|
Brahms spends the summer in Bad Ischl (cf. "Österreich-Lexikon / Encyclopedia for Austria").
Brahms spends the summer in Mürzzuschlag, Styria. He starts
to compose his 4th symphony.
2nd stay in Mürzzuschlag. The 4th symphony is finished and first performed at Meiningen on October 25th. |
Brahms becomes honorary president of the Vienna Tonkünstlerverein.
Honorary citizen of Hamburg.
Clara Schumann dies on May 20th.|
April 3rd: Brahms dies in Vienna and is buried in the Vienna Central Cemetery. He had been awarded many honours and awards. He was regarded as the most important composer of his age (for some since 1870, for some since Wagner's death in 1873) whose work encompassed all forms of music, with the exception of opera.|