Father of the Berlin operetta, a form of light opera. He was as influential in Berlin as Johann Strauss II was in Vienna and Jacques Offenbach in Paris.
He favored military music initially. This led to schooling at Wittenberge, where he became a skilled bassoonist, drummer, pianist, violinist, and tenor horn player.
He was made an honorary citizen of Berlin on his 75th birthday.
His father was a magistrate, but also played violin in numerous small orchestras. He married Anna Muller in 1886 when she was only 17.
His music was played in "Titanic," James Cameron's epic film from 1997.