Sunday, September 8, 2013

September 8 - Antonín Dvořák

Bohemian composer Antonín Dvořák was born on September 8, 1841, near Prague, in what is now the Czech Republic. Encouraged by his parents, he became a working musician and composer. In the 1870s he followed in the footsteps of Czech composer Bedřich Smetana, producing a range of works inspired by Czech, Moravian and Slavic traditional music, including Symphonies 4-6, his lyrical serenades for strings and for winds, his violin concerto and the popular first set of Slavonic Dances. Largely because of political tensions under Austro-Hungarian rule, Dvořák found much of his success abroad – first in London with his cantata “Stabat Mater” (1877), then in New York in the 1890s, where as director of the National Conservatory of Music he studied and promoted "American music," including African-American and Native American songs and idioms. In 1893 the New York Philharmonic premiered his Symphony No.9, "From the New World," and he spent that summer in the Czech community of Spillville, Iowa, where he composed his superb String Quartet in F (the "American").

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