During his life, Gustav Mahler was a celebrated conductor and composer. Born to an Austrian Jewish family in the Czech Republic in 1860 to a family of 12, Mahler’s musical talents emerged at a young age. He began singing and composing by age 4. At age 10, Mahler gave his first recital and at age 15 entered the Vienna Conservatory. Knowing that he needed to support himself financially, Mahler turned to conducting after graduation believing it to be a more practical career choice. After several other positions, he became the director of the Vienna Court Opera (Vienna Hofoper) and married Alma Maria Schindler in 1902. Mahler had planned on settling in this position permanently, but in 1908, he went to New York to lead the Metropolitan Opera. In 1909 he also became the director of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. Mahler returned to Vienna in 1911 where he died of a weak heart, leaving his tenth symphony unfinished.