Wilhelm Richard Wagner was one of the most important figures in 19th centurey music. He was born in Leipzig, Germany on the 22nd of May in 1813. His father, Carl Fredrich Wagner, died shortly after Richard's birth, and within that year his mother, Johanna Rosine, had married Ludwig Geyer. His career in composing music began in 1833 as a choral director in Würzburg. Wagner had composed his early works in imitation of German romantic compostions. Beethoven was a major idol of his at this time.