Franz Lehar was born April 30, 1870, at Komarom, Hungary.
He received his musical education at the Prague Conservatory, and from there went as concertmaster to Elberfeld-Barmen.
Subsequently he became a military bandmaster, and served with many infantry regiments in various part of Austria-Hungary. He left the army in 1902 to fill the post as conductor of the Vienna Theater.
In this year he also acted as conductor of the Riesenorchesters – the Giant Orchestra – at “Venice in Vienna,” a great exhibition held in the Austrian capital.
Lehar will always be remembered as the composer of The Merry Widow, the most successful musical comedy of recent times. It was produced in Vienna, 1905, and its entrancing waltz tunes spread across Europe and America like a summer heat wave.
Gipsy Love has also proved popular in America, and so have other works of his which have been produced in Germany and America.
He has also composed marches, overtures, and a symphonic poem.
Like our own Victor Herbert, Lehar is one of a small band of well-schooled composers the world has produced, who has succeeded in appealing to the mass of people by their melodious and vivacious charm, and at the same time have delighted trained musicians by their certainty of technique.
Mozart paved the way with his Magic Flute and The Marriage of Figaro, and since him there have been Johann Strauss, Planquette, Sullivan, Offenbach, and a few – too few – others.