Josef Franz Wagner (1856-1908)
A true Viennese, Wagner was nicknamed the ‘Austrian March King’ though he did write other music. As a young boy he was a great soprano singing in a church choir. He later studied harmony, composition and instrumentation under the renowned Johann Hasel. He entered the military and became bandmaster of successively three Austrian regiments when he travelled widely within the Austrian Empire, but always preferred to be in Vienna where he was very popular. He resigned from the army in 1899 and formed his own orchestral band which soon became popular. He died in 1908 having written about 400 compositions of which some 250 were published, including his most famous march, Under the Double Eagle. He wrote three operettas but it is not known if they were ever performed.