Johann Strauss II was an Austrian violinist and composer of many waltzes and operettes. His father, the composer Johann Strauss sr., did not want him to become a musician. As a child, he studied in secret under his father's biggest rival's guidance, Joseph Lanner. Johann Strauss jr. could really focus on a career as a composer once Johnn sr. left the family.
His two brothers, Josef and Eduard, were composers two, but Johann jr. was by far the most succesful. This led to an enormous jealousy among the brothers, especially with Eduard. Yet, musically too, Johann jr. was far better equipped then his two brothers.
During his lifetime, he was already known as the king of waltzes and the growing popularity of the Viennese waltz is partly due to him as he was able to lift the genre from the regular dance halls to concert stages. He was regarded as one of the most prominent composers of his time, among others by Johannes Brahms who was a personal friend of his. At the age of 73, Strauss II died of pneumonia.