ISAAC STRAUSS (1806 - 1888)
Known as 'Strauss de Paris', Isaac Strauss (1826-1888) was unrelated to the Viennese Strausses, but cannot have been disadvantaged by the shared surname.
Like Waldteufel, he hailed from Strasbourg, where he was born on 2nd June 1806. In 1826 he entered the Paris Conservatoire as a violinist, and in 1828 was a co-founder of the societé des Concerts du Conservatoire. Shortly afterwards he was engaged as violinist at the Theatre-Italien in Paris, and he also began to build up a reputation as director and composer of dance music.
From 1843 to 1863 he was conductor of the Spa orchestra at Vichy, and he was conductor of the Imperial Balls at the Tuileries almost throughout the Second Empire, his orchestra latterly sharing the duties there with the Waldteufel orchestra. He then became conductor of the Opera Ball and was noted for the frenetic nature of his conducting. In his later years he was a generous benefactor to old and needy musicians, and he built up an extensive art and archaeological collection, which is now housed in the Salle Strauss of the Cluny Museum, Paris. He died in Paris on 9th August 1888.
The fact that Isaac Strauss's compositions were published simply under the name of 'Strauss' or 'I. Strauss' has meant that they have often been confused with those of Johann Strauss.That could be particularly easy to do when, as with Offenbach's 1858 opera bouffe Orphee aux enfers (Orpheus in the Underworld), both composers arranged a quadrille on the same material. However, French (and English) quadrilles can be distinguished from Viennese by the former having just five figures compared with the Viennese six.