Explore the works of

Explore our collection of performances featuring the works of Czech composer Antonín Dvořák, whose flawless blend of folk elements and classical forms has earned him recognition as one of the most versatile composers of the late Romantic era.

About Dvořák

Through his richly melodic compositions - which spanned the likes of symphonies, chamber music, operas, and choral compositions - Bohemia's own Antonín Dvořák (1841 - 1904) boasts a long-lasting legacy undefeated to this day. Always one to weave his country's musical tradition into his work, Dvořák was and continues to be one of the principal ambassadors of Czech tradition - a title to which he still clings. Additionally, Dvořák's role as a teacher and mentor means that his mark on music goes far beyond himself.

Born in the then-Austrian Empire's Bohemia, Dvořák grew up amongst significant cultural and political upheaval, as his region's desire for cultural and political autonomy was becoming impossible to ignore at the turn of the century. Spending his childhood in the wake of the Czech National Revival, Dvořák was exposed early on to folk music and tradition, which would play a significant role in his compositional work at nearly all times. Despite his family's modest and limited means, the young composer's father pinpointed his music talent early on and encouraged his education. Notwithstanding adversity, Dvořák continued his musical studies through scholarships and odd jobs, and, soon enough, his talent as a violinist earned him a position in various orchestras, as he continued playing - and composing.

Starting with String Quintet No. 1 in A minor, Op. 1 in 1861, when Dvořák was only 20 years old, a fruitful composing career followed, earning him recognition in Prague's musical circles; in 1874, he cemented his reputation by receiving the much-coveted Austrian State Prize for Composition. However, crossing the Atlantic Ocean to become the director of the National Conservatory of Music of America in New York City would prove to be the biggest leap in Dvořák's career. It was in America that Dvořák, struck by inspiration, wrote two of his most important orchestral works; the Symphony From the New World - which garnered him worldwide recognition - and his magnificent Cello Concerto. However, taken by pay cuts and an intense onset of homesickness, the composer returned to his native Bohemia in 1895.

Upon his return, Dvořák was received as a national hero; his work, always deeply infused with the music of his people, resonated with a country whose national pride and sense of cultural identity was skyrocketing. Dvořák remained a prolific composer - with his 8th and 9th being premiered around this time - and also a teacher and mentor until his passing on 1 May 1904. He left behind an array of unfinished works, leaving his legacy in classical music rich yet somehow incomplete.

Dvořák remains one of the foremost European composers, much responsible for introducing America and the world to the beauty and potential of Czech music. His place in the classical music pantheon has been reassured time and time again, as his lyrical, evocative, and richly-textured compositions continue being heard and seen in concert halls in Prague and far beyond.

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