When the University of Breslau informed Johannes Brahms in 1880 that they wished to confer an honorary doctoral degree upon him, the composer set about writing his Academic Festival Overture in honor of the occasion.
Using student tunes such as Gaudeamus igitur, and many other popular themes of the day, Brahms produced one of his most good natured orchestral works, a sterling example of the art of thematic variation. Back when Brahms himself was a student, he adopted the pseudonym “JOHANNES KREISLER, JUNIOR” after a character of the same name in a work by E.T.A. Hoffmann.
The fictional JOHANNES KREISLER, JUNIOR was an emotionally erratic composer that wrote painfully expressive and bizarre music.