A digital celebration of the music of Richard Strauss

Thursday, June 11

“The only revolutionary in our time was Strauss!” —Arnold Schoenberg

From the swashbuckling highs of Don Juan, to the drama of Also Sprach Zarathustra, to the quiet reflections of Death and Transfiguration, Richard Strauss—born on June 11, 1864—contributed to a revolution in composition and created an enduring body of work that demands virtuosic orchestras and still captures the imagination of listeners.

Cheers to Richard Strauss!

On Strauss’s birthday, we celebrate the composer with a day of videos and other online activities below. Try out a few cocktail recipes as you sit back and listen to the music that inspired them.


Iconic Strauss: Also sprach Zarathustra (excerpt) Leonardo Soto, principal timpani

For Richard Strauss's birthday, Leonardo Soto, Houston Symphony principal timpani, shares an iconic excerpt. Leo says: "It is not only a part that every timpanist knows, but also is in most timpani auditions for any orchestra."

Iconic Strauss: Ein Heldenleben (A Hero's Life) (excerpt) William VerMeulen, principal horn

Richard Strauss's father was a famous horn player, and William VerMeulen, principal horn, notes of Strauss's Ein Heldenleben: "The horn's role in this piece is as the hero, so the heroic opening is a fantastic representation of what the horn is capable of. It's highly technical, and almost unplayable in its day."

Andrés Orozco-Estrada on Strauss's Don Juan

Tune in to Houston Public Media on June 14 & 17 for a concert broadcast of last season's All-Strauss Thanksgiving conducted by Andrés Orozco-Estrada. The program includes Strauss's swashbuckling tone poem Don Juan. Broadcast details

Moment of Music with Carlos Andrés Botero: No. 24, Richard Strauss

Richard Strauss: musical genius, or entertainer? Houston Symphony Musical Ambassador Carlos Andrés Botero discusses the life and music of Richard Strauss on the composer's birthday. Listen to Carlos's playlist

Musical Memories: Richard Strauss

Do you have your own fond memories of hearing or performing music by Richard Strauss? John Mangum, Executive Director/CEO, and William VerMeulen, principal horn, share memories of Elektra and Ein Heldenleben.


Music Tells the Story: 5 Great Strauss Tone Poems

What Shakespeare was to the sonnet, Richard Strauss was the tone poem. Pioneered by Franz Liszt in the mid-1800s, tone poems took the then-groundbreaking step of tying music to an extra-musical source—usually, a poem, novel, painting, or landscape—allowing music to “tell the story.”

Read More

Mix It Up! Recipes for Richard Strauss’s Birthday

Listen to Richard Strauss for sources of inspiration for these concoctions that will put you in great spirits to celebrate Strauss and his legacy.

Read More

Go High, Go Low! Kids Activity Inspired by Richard Strauss

Today we are going to talk about high and low sounds using the music Also sprach Zarathustra by Richard (pronounced REE-card) Strauss!

Read More

Hear More Strauss

Houston Public Media broadcasts on June 14 & 17 feature a recording of last season’s All-Strauss Thanksgiving, conducted by Music Director Andrés Orozco-Estrada. Learn more

Follow along on social media:

THE 2021–22 SEASON

Renew your subscription for the 2021–22 season or join us with a livestream package.