Ludwig Thuille (30 November 1861 – 5 February 1907) was a German composer and teacher, numbered for a while among the leading operatic composers of the 'Munich School', whose most famous representative was Richard Strauss.
Thuille was born at Bozen, then part of Tyrol, now in Italy.
He lost both his parents in childhood, and moved to stay with an uncle in Austria. He studied in Innsbruck (where in 1877 he met the young Richard Strauss, who became a lifelong friend) and then with Josef Rheinberger, among others, in Munich. Subsequently he became professor of theory and composition at the Akademie der Tonkunst in that city. His many pupils included Hermann Abendroth, Ernest Bloch, Ernst Boehe, Richard Wetz, Rudi Stephan, Walter Braunfels and Henry Kimball Hadley.
A prolific composer, Thuille concentrated on chamber music - he is remembered principally for his Sextet for piano and wind instruments (1886–88), the only one of his works to have kept a toehold on the repertoire - and opera, though his early works include a Piano Concerto and a Symphony. In 1897 his opera Theuerdank gained the first prize and a prestigious staged premiere in an operatic competition sponsored by the Regent of Bavaria, in which Alexander von Zemlinsky was placed second. His second opera Lobetanz was premiered the following year in Karlsruhe and was a considerable, if short-lived, success.
Despite his friendship with Strauss (which extended to making a 2-piano arrangement of the latter's tone poem Don Juan), and despite his devotion to music-drama, Thuille remained a fairly conservative composer during his brief life. He died at Munich in 1907.
His posthumously-published Harmonielehre (written in collaboration with Rudolf Louis) went through many editions and was highly influential.
While Thuille's Sextet has always retained a certain following, several of his other compositions have become commercially available on CD only in recent years—his two Piano Quintets, the Piano Concerto in D and his Symphony in F (1885) chief among them.