Published online by Cambridge University Press: 18 December 2020
At the time of his departure from Iglau for the Vienna Conservatory in 1875, the fifteen-year-old Mahler had already absorbed the musical, religious, and educational influence of important figures who populated his childhood. The musicians among this group include numerous local performers and music directors who initiated him into the routine of practical professional musicianship. Despite their near-anonymity today, they were in many cases highly skilled artists with considerable training, and they provided the precocious and energetic youngster with a rich introduction to the materials of his art. His religious education was stamped both by his rabbi, J. J. Unger, and by Catholic priests, who together set an extraordinary example of tolerance and collaboration. Evidence of Mahler’s gymnasium years is provided mainly by recollections of school friends such as Theodor Fischer and by the music historian Guido Adler, five years older than Mahler but educated in essentially the same circumstances.