Born in Munich into a family of musicians, Richard Strauss (1864–1949) began his musical studies at the age of four, began composition studies aged 11 and in 1883 became a protégé of the conductor Hans von Bülow, who encouraged him to study the music of Wagner. Strauss’s early masterpieces include several orchestral tone poems and many songs. Around the end of the 19th century, Strauss turned his attention to opera. His first two operas, Guntram (1893) and Feuersnot (1901), received lukewarm responses, but Salome (1905) was a major success. It was followed by the even more intense Elektra (1909), Strauss’s first collaboration with the Viennese author and poet Hugo von Hofmannsthal (1874–1929). Their partnership continued until Hofmannsthal’s death and produced some of Strauss’s most successful operas, including Der Rosenkavalier, Ariadne auf Naxos, Die Frau ohne Schatten and Arabella.