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Antonín Dvořák

Czech composer

Antonín Dvořák

Czech composer
ALL ARTIST INFO IS PULLED FROM PUBLICLY AVAILABLE DATA.
IF YOU REPRESENT THIS ARTIST AND WOULD LIKE TO VERIFY YOUR PAGE OR UPDATE THE INFO, Click Here
Biography

Anton n Leopold Dvo k ( d( -)VOR-zha(h)k; Czech: [‘anto i:n ‘l opold ‘dvor a:k] (listen); 8 September 1841 – 1 May 1904) was a Czech composer, one of the first to achieve worldwide recognition. Following the Romantic-era nationalist example of his predecessor Bed ich Smetana, Dvo k frequently employed rhythms and other aspects of the folk music of Moravia and his native Bohemia. Dvo k’s own style has been described as “the fullest recreation of a national idiom with that of the symphonic tradition, absorbing folk influences and finding effective ways of using them”.
Dvo k displayed his musical gifts at an early age, being an apt violin student from age six. The first public performances of his works were in Prague in 1872 and, with special success, in 1873, when he was 31 years old. Seeking recognition beyond the Prague area, he submitted a score of his First Symphony to a prize competition in Germany, but did not win, and the unreturned manuscript was lost until rediscovered many decades later. In 1874 he made a submission to the Austrian State Prize for Composition, including scores of two further symphonies and other works. Although Dvo k was not aware of it, Johannes Brahms was the leading member of the jury and was highly impressed. The prize was awarded to Dvo k in 1874 and again in 1876 and in 1877, when Brahms and the prominent critic Eduard Hanslick, also a member of the jury, made themselves known to him. Brahms recommended Dvo k to his publisher, Simrock, who soon afterward commissioned what became the Slavonic Dances, Op. 46. These were highly praised by the Berlin music critic Louis Ehlert in 1878, the sheet music (of the original piano 4-hands version) had excellent sales, and Dvo k’s international reputation was launched at last.
Dvo k’s first piece of a religious nature, his setting of Stabat Mater, was premiered in Prague in 1880. It was very successfully performed in London in 1883, leading to many other performances in the United Kingdom and United States. In his career, Dvo k made nine invited visits to England, often conducting performances of his own works. His Seventh Symphony was written for London. Visiting Russia in March 1890, he conducted concerts of his own music in Moscow and Saint Petersburg. In 1891 Dvo k was appointed as a professor at the Prague Conservatory. In 1890-91, he wrote his Dumky Trio, one of his most successful chamber music pieces.
In 1892, Dvo k moved to the United States and became the director of the National Conservatory of Music of America in New York City. The President of the National Conservatory of Music in America, Jeannette Thurber, offered Dvo k an annual salary of $15,000- twenty-five times what he was paid at the Prague Conservatory. While in the United States, Dvo k wrote his two most successful orchestral works: the Symphony From the New World, which spread his reputation worldwide, and his Cello Concerto, one of the most highly regarded of all cello concerti. In the summer of 1893, Dvo k moved from New York City to Spillville, Iowa, following the advice of his secretary, J.J. Kovar k. Dvo k had originally planned to come back to Bohemia, but Spillville was made up of mostly Czech immigrants, and thus felt less homesick; Dvo k referred to it as his “summer Vysoka.” This is where he wrote his most famous piece of chamber music, his String Quartet in F major, Op. 96, which was later nicknamed the American Quartet. Shortly after his time in Iowa, Dvor k extended his contract at the National Conservatory for another two years. However, the economic crisis of April 1893 resulted in Thurber’s husband’s loss of income, and directly influenced the National Conservatory’s funding. But shortfalls in payment of his salary, along with increasing recognition in Europe and an onset of homesickness, led him to leave the United States and return to Bohemia in 1895.
All of Dvo k’s nine operas, except his first, have librettos in Czech and were intended to convey the Czech national spirit, as were some of his choral works. By far the most successful of the operas is Rusalka. Among his smaller works, the seventh Humoresque and the song “Songs My Mother Taught Me” are also widely performed and recorded. He has been described as “arguably the most versatile… composer of his time”.
The Dvo k Prague International Music Festival is a major series of concerts held annually to celebrate Dvo k’s life and works.

Name

Antonín Dvořák

Nationality

Czech Republic

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