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Anton Krisper (1858-1914).

  • Profession: Composer.
  • Residences: Ljubljana 1881-1882 House Gustav Mahler Ljubljana, Vienna.
  • Relation to Mahler: Friend, classmate Conservatory.
  • Correspondence with Mahler: Yes.
  • Born: 28-12-1858 Ljubljana, Slovenia.
  • Died: 00-00-1914 Feldhof near Graz, Mental Hospital, Austria.
  • Buried: 00-00-0000 Ljubljana, Slovenia.

One of the descendants of the Krisper family (merchant's family), Anton Krisper, was a friend of Gustav Mahler, his fellow music student in Vienna. It was due their friendship that the 21-year-old Gustav Mahler moved in with his friend and spent some of his working life in Krisper House. 1881-1882 House Gustav Mahler Ljubljana

Krisper House.

Between 1881 and 1882, Mahler held the post of conductor at Ljubljana's Landschaftliches Theater and learned his trade as a conductor. His bust now adorns the Krisper House's façade facing the Mestni trg square.

Fragment of a letter from Gustav Mahler to Anton Krisper.

Friendship between Mahler and Krisper when both were students in Vienna. Six letters Mahler wrote to Krisper in 1879-1880, documenting his professional plans. They suggests that Krisper was responsible for persuading Mahler to take the position in the theater in Ljubljana. Written in Slovene, with English summary.

Krisper did nof finish his study. Only one work survived. 


When studying at the Conservatorium in Vienna Gustav Mahler became friends with Anton Krisper, of Ljubljana. Krisper (1858-1914) is generally taken to have been a highly gifted and extremely sensitive character. In 1879 and 1880 Mahler wrote six letters to Krisper, at that time not yet twenty years old. These letters are important because they contain Mahler's communication concerning his work and plans (Rübezahl, a fairy-tale play; a Nordische Symphonie; both of them later destroyed) and reveal his impassioned disposition, filled with poetry.

Later on Anton Krisper went to Leipzig to study there philosophy and then mining engineering. He is often quoted in connection with an opera (probably Zlatorog) that possible had its first premiere in Prague – but evidence for this is lacking. Later on he wrote a treatise entitled "Die Kunstmusik in ihrem Prinzip, ihrer Entwicklung und ihrer Konsequenz bzw. Die Musiksysteme in ihren Prinzipien". In his Musiklexicon Hugo Riemann characterises it as "a very interesting historical-theoretical study on harmonic-dualistic basis".

In all likelihood it was Krisper who persuaded Mahler to decide and come to Ljubljana. Here he was in the 1881-1882 season the conductor at the Ljubljana theatre. Since that time no more relations between the two friends can be traced. Krisper died in a mental hospital at Feldhof near Graz in 1914 and was buried in Ljubljana.