Antonín Leopold Dvorak Biography

Antonín Leopold Dvorak Biography

Dvorak was born on the 8th of September, 1841 in Nelahozeves, a village near Prague. He was the son of the village butcher as well as inn-keeper. Beginning with his youth, he helped his father out at the butcher shop, as well as displaying talent at playing the violin. Dvorak studied with Antonín Liehmann at the Prague from 1857-1859. Dvorak excelled at playing the viola for the Bohemian Provisional Theatre Orchestra which was from 1866 conducted by Bedrich Smetana. Until 1873, Dvorak was mainly privately teaching, and composing. Dvorak’s first public recognition was in 1873 when his cantata Hymnus was performed Dvorak won the Austrian State Stipendium three times while Brahms was on the jury, and thus gained his attention. Dvorak composed nine symphonies (1865-93); a piano piece called “Humoresque” (1894); two paino duets called Slavonic Dances (1878 and 1886); the operas Vanda (1875), The Jacobin (1887-88), Rusalka (1901), and Armida (1902-3); as well as many other symphonic poems; chamber music; oratorios; cantatas; and masses; and a violin concerto. From 1892-1895 Dvorak came to the USA to be the director of the National Conservatory in New York City. While in the US, Dvorak composed his most popular and famous work: Symphony No.9 "From the New World". Dvorak eventually returned from America to Prague where he was director of the conservatoire from 1901 until his death. Dvorak died not too long after the first performances of his last opera, Armida on May 1, 1904. On his funeral-date, a national mourning day was in effect for all of Bohemia.

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