Higher State Grammar School; attended by Gustav Mahler as a regular student in 1869-1875, and as a private student in 1875-1877; his performance here was evidenced as of 11-11-1872. Alois (Louis) Mahler (1867-1931) attended this school in 1878-1881, Otto Mahler (1873-1895) in 1883-1886.

The Gymnasium was built in 1727.

On 11-11-1872 Mahler played Liszt´s paraphrase on The Wedding March and Mendelssohn´s Dance of the Elves at a concert in the school hall.

Jihlava. School German Gymnasium (Hluboka street Nos. 1/109, Nonnengaschen 608).

The German Gymnasium (Grammar school), where Gustav studied from 1869 till 1877. Nowadays a library. Hluboka street No. 1.

  • 1869-1875 Regular student
  • 1875-1877 Private student

In the autumn of 1869 Mahler entered the German gymnasium at Hluboka Street No. 1 (then Im Jesuitengarten, since 1878 Tiefegasse), whose building, which dates back to 1727, with a later annex of the mid-19th century, still exists (as the Town Library).

In his very first semester young Mahler drew the attention of the school management and Jihlava’s public to himself by honestly returning a wallet with a large amount of money that he found; word of the case spread to the public through the town crier after he had drummed up people across the town. In the first years of Gustav’s studies his results weren’t bad. At the end of the first year he placed 22nd among the 49 pupils, and one year later he placed sixteenth out of forty.

By then he had already made his first public appearance Stadttheater (Komenskeho street Nos. 24/1357, Spital Gasse No. 4) and his father Bernhard, dazzled by his son’s musical success, wanted to ensure an even better education for him than was possible in Jihlava, and arranged his transfer to a gymnasium in Prague’s New Town. Gustav lived in the Old Town with the family of professor Moriz Grunfeld (1819-1882), who at the same time taught him music. However, young Mahler, torn out of his environment, failed in six subjects out of a total of seven at the much more demanding school, and he was hopelessly last in the class. Therefore his father took him back to Jihlava, where he continued his studies at the local gymnasium, this time with better results.

Jihlava. School German Gymnasium (Hluboka street Nos. 1/109, Nonnengaschen 608).

Mahler ended his regular studies at the 6th grade. Gustav Schwarz (around 1875 and 1877), the administrator of a Moravany farmstead in the Caslav region who met Mahler through his classmate Joseph Steiner (1857-1913) from nearby Habry, identified young Mahler’s music talents and persuaded his father to arrange for Gustav’s study at the Vienna Conservatory.

Gustav’s father agreed, on the condition that Gustav would complete his studies at the gymnasium and take the final exam there. Thus Gustav studied at the Jihlava gymnasium for another two years as a private student. He returned to Jihlava to take the exams for the last semester, and also for vacations. In the summer months he made appearances at successful concerts.

In view of his coming graduation examination, on 12-09-1876, he organized a concert in the great hall of the Czap Hotel as a benefit for the gymnasium - for purchasing teaching aids. That is to say that his study results showed a continuous downward trend, and he finished the last semester with four failing grades. He withdrew from the graduation examination on the regular date, 06-07-1877, and he returned to face the examination committee on 12-09-1877. The committee showed him mercy and “let him pass.”

Jihlava. School German Gymnasium (Hluboka street Nos. 1/109, Nonnengaschen 608).

Jihlava. School German Gymnasium (Hluboka street Nos. 1/109, Nonnengaschen 608). Mathematics Gustav Mahler.

Jihlava. School German Gymnasium (Hluboka street Nos. 1/109, Nonnengaschen 608). Mathematics Gustav Mahler.

The period he spent at the gymnasium was also important in Mahler’s life, as he formed lifelong friendships with several classmates:

Year 1877. Mahler's examination schedule 14-07-1877 at the School German Gymnasium (Hluboka street Nos. 1/109, Nonnengaschen 608): Failed. Re-examination at 12-09-1877: Passed.

In October 1877 Gustav Mahler entered the Vienna School of Philosophy and for two years he studied philosophy, history, and music history there. In June 1878 he finished at the conservatory with great success, and in May 1880 he entered his first engagement as the conductor of a summer theatre orchestra in the spa town of Bad Hall, in Upper Austria.