Composer Richard Heuberger was a key figure in Viennese musical life at the turn of the twentieth century.
Born in Graz, Heuberger abandoned engineering studies at the age of 26 in order to take up music composition, first with W.A. Rémy and later with Robert Fuchs. In the late 1870s and 1880s, Heuberger went through a number of directorships at singing academies in Vienna and elsewhere; in 1902, he was named a professor at the Konservatorium Wien. In 1881, Heuberger first began to write music criticism for the Neues Wiener Tagblatt and later the Allgemeine Zeitung in Munich; in 1896, Heuberger took over Eduard Hanslick's position as chief critic of the Neue freie Presse, which he held until 1901. Heuberger published several volumes of his collected criticisms in book form during his own lifetime.
Richard Heuberger was a persistent composer of opera, ballets, and operetta, but only one of his works became popular, Der Opernball (1897); it remains the work by which he is best known. The duet aria "Geh'n wir ins Chambre séparée" has developed a life of its own as a popular extract; Fritz Kreisler transformed it into the violin solo Midnight Bells as one of his first transcriptions in 1901. Heuberger died in 1914, just as the Viennese society that embraced his work as composer and critic began to crumble under the chaos that overtook the region in World War I.