Renowned today as the gifted composer of a string of masterworks, Richard Strauss (1864-1949) is less often remembered for his achievement as a major conductor. Yet he held important conducting posts in Munich, Berlin, and Vienna and influenced generations of younger conductors. This important book is the first to consider Strauss's career as a conductor and place it in relation to his life as a composer. With unique access to extensive materials in the Strauss family's private archives, Raymond Holden corrects misconceptions about Strauss and discusses the musician's understanding of composing and conducting as intertwined processes. Holden throws new light on Strauss's relationships, on his disputed role during the Third Reich, and particularly on his performance practices and principles.