Alongside his also also named Johann, he was the "king of the Viennese waltz", creator of a repertoire of dances and entertainment typical of the Vienna of the first half of the 19th century. According to Hector Berlioz, Vienna without Strauss is like Austria without the Danube.
From a modest background, Johann Strauss, a trained violinist, and his friend Joseph Lanner founded a quartet which performed in the breweries of Vienna. The quartet gradually grew and became a small orchestra that played in popular city balls, breweries and promenade concerts. At the same time, he composed his own waltzes and founded his own orchestra. His reputation opened the doors of European courts, he travelled a lot: Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, England and Scotland. In 1846, he was appointed ball director at the Austrian court. He died prematurely from scarlet fever, leaving behind a vast opus entirely dedicated to entertainment: polkas, gallops, quadrilles, marches and of course waltzes, which still appear in the repertoire of Viennese ball orchestras. However, his most famous piece, the Radetzky March (named after Joseph Radetzky) is still played every year by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra during the traditional New Year Concert.
Despite his popularity Johann Strauss did everything to prevent his children from embracing careers as musicians but still Johann Strauss’s son surpassed his father with his talent as a composer.
Five landmark dates in the life of Johann Strauss:
1822: joined Joseph Lanner's quartet
1824: first unanimous success during the carnival
1825: formed his own ensemble and started writing music
1838: conducted his music in England for the coronation of Queen Victoria's
1904: first buried at the Döbling cemetery alongside his friend Lanner; their remains were then transferred to the Zentralfriedhof's graves of honor
Six key works by Johann Strauss (Father):
Radetzky-Marsch op. 228
Wiener Carneval op. 3 (1828)
Paris-Walzer op. 101 (1838)
Piefke und Pufke Polka op. 235
Wiener Gemüths-Walzer op. 116 (1840)
Lorelei Rhein Klänge op. 154 (1843)