Edward Elgar was the son of a Piano Tuner in Worcester. Although his musical talent was recognized early, his plans to study at the Leipzig Conservatory came to naught due to a lack of money. At the age of 16, Elgar became a full-time, free-lance musician. He gained a local reputation as organist, violinist, teacher, conductor, and composer. Yet Elgar yearned for a career in London, an international city away from the provincial towns of his youth. His large-scale cantatas won him some fame, but his real breakthrough came in 1898 with the success of his "Enigma" variations.