Ludwig Thuille (1861-1907) was born in the then Austrian town of Bozen located in the South Tirol (now in Italy and called Bolzano). His remarkable talent for music was recognized at an early age. After a stint at the Innsbruck School of Music, Thuille studied with Josef Rheinberger at the Bavarian Royal Conservatory in Munich. Thuille befriended Richard Strauss when he was ten and they remained friends for the rest of Thuille’s life. Strauss’ influence on Thuille’s music was certainly as great as that of Rheinberger. The last part of his life, Thuille spent as a music professor and composer, achieving considerable fame for his operas. He was the founder of the so-called New Munich School of composition. Among his many students was Ernest Bloch. Thuille wrote in most genres and often turned to chamber music.
A prolific composer, Thuille concentrated on chamber music – he is remembered principally for his Sextet for piano and wind instruments (1886–88), the only one of his works to have kept a toehold on the repertoire – and opera, though his early works include a Piano Concerto and a Symphony. In 1897 his opera Theuerdank gained the first prize and a prestigious staged premiere in an operatic competition sponsored by the Regent of Bavaria, in which Alexander von Zemlinsky was placed second. His second opera Lobetanz was premiered the following year in Karlsruhe and was a considerable, if short-lived, success. He also composed a Symphony in F major, much praised by Strauss, five other chamber works, 13 choral pieces, and 78 songs.