He first learned to play the flute given to him as a child, and on growing up he enrolled in the 6th Army Regiment based in Galaţi where he also learned to play the clarinet under Alois Riedl. His gift and passion for music soon led him to become one of the best musicians in his regiment. Encouraged, he continued to study in Iaşi under the renowned Emil Lehr, one of the outstanding musicians of the second half of the 19th century. He rose to become a bandmaster and toured around Romania. He conducted several different military bands before finally being appointed as Inspector of Military Music in 1900, a position he held until his death in 1902.
Today he is known only for his waltz Valurile Dunării (Waves of the Danube, Donauwellen, Flots du Danube), first published in Bucharest in 1880, but he wrote over 350 dance pieces and marches, and his works were published by no less than 60 publishing houses around the world. He won the coveted march prize to mark the World Exhibition in Paris in 1889 out of 116 entries by other outstanding composers of the time.
In 1946 its distinctive main theme gained renewed familiarity when adapted by Al Jolson and Saul Chaplin as the 'Anniversary Song' ('Oh! how we danced on the night we were wed') in the film The Jolson Story.
His musical talent put him into the category of the major dance composers of the time, and his subsequent obscurity was the result of both the isolation of the country and his ethnic background which put him out of favor with the authorities after his death. His music is very much is the style of Johann Strauss and his contemporaries, but is strongly influenced by Romania's own musical traditions which makes it refreshingly different. (from http://www.johann-strauss.org.uk)