1873 – 1895
Who was Otto Mahler?
Gustav Mahler was already Director of the Royal Opera in Budapest when Otto Mahler entered the Vienna Conservatory in 1888 at the age of 15. Natalie Bauer-Lechner's memoirs describe Otto as having been "liberated from his father's business" by Gustav—who became head of the family, and financially responsible for Otto, upon the deaths of Bernard and Marie in 1889.
Commentary on Otto's life tends to assert that he was a talented student. He appears to have been less diligent than his brother had been, however. After a few successful terms studying harmony and counterpoint with Anton Bruckner and piano with Ernst Ludwig, his marks declined, and the annual report for his first year shows that for some reason he took no final examination in composition. From that point on his academic performance was increasingly poor, and in April 1892, Otto Mahler left the Conservatory without a diploma.