Antonín Dvořák – Czech Music Genius

Antonín Dvořák – Czech Music Genius

Follow the footsteps of one of the most famous Czech classical music composers

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Many composers have been born in the Czech Republic. Antonín Dvořák is undoubtedly one of the most played ones at present. His pieces are performed on world stages and this year is the 180th anniversary of his birth. We are introducing places where you can symbolically meet Antonín Dvořák today.

Dvořák’s Life in a Nutshell

Antonín Dvořák was born on 8 September 1841 in Nelahozeves nearby Prague in Central Bohemia as the first-born son. He was fond of music since early childhood and played several music instruments when he was small. He studied the organ school in Prague where he later settled down and married. He started composing in the 1870s and became quite popular over time. In 1884, he was invited to London to conduct his Stabat Mater, the work he composed after his one-year-old daughter died. He was accepted with enormous success, establishing really strong relations with the English music scene. Thanks to that, he received an honorary degree in Prague and Cambridge. He was friends with Russian composer Tchaikovsky who invited him to perform in St. Petersburg and Moscow. He became world famous when he was the guest in the USA where he lived for three years at the end of the 19th century. He was well known during his life and the Austrian Emperor named him a knight. Antonín Dvořák died on 1 May 1904 due to a stroke and he is buried at the cemetery in Vyšehrad in Prague.

Most Famous Pieces and Works

When one says Antonín Dvořák, most classical music enthusiasts will think at least of one of his works. Such as the symphony From the New World. But Dvořák composed so many more pieces during his life. He is the author of almost 120 opuses, most of which are large orchestral, vocal-instrumental or dramatic pieces. He wrote many operas, such as the Rusalka or Čert a Káča, series of concertos or symphonies. His work is still actively played today and so you can see Rusalka when visiting Prague in the National Theatre, or in Ostrava in the Moravian-Silesian National Theatre.

Visit Dvořák’s House

You can visit the house in Nelahozeves where he spent his childhood. Today, the house is the Antonín Dvořák Memorial and you can get inside during a tour of the Nelahozeves Château. The house is furnished in a way that takes visitors back to the mid-19th century and so you can easily imagine how this world-famous composer spent his childhood and youth. The house is currently awaiting a general reconstruction, but it is still worth a visit. And what about the nearby château? They say it is one of the most beautiful Renaissance buildings in Bohemia. Come see for yourselves!

More Footprints of Antonín Dvořák

The charming Baroque summer house in the centre of Prague in Nové Město is a home to the Antonín Dvořák Museum, managed by the National Museum. There you will find an exposition on Antonín Dvořák and in addition to the beautiful Baroque architecture, you can also see Dvořák’s desk or his personal piano.
There is one more memorial tied to Antonín Dvořák. You will find it at the château in Vysoká u Příbrami in Central Bohemia. It used to belong to Dvořák’s brother-in-law and the Dvořáks used to spend a lot of time there. They say that Dvořák used to draw inspiration for his work in the local countryside, park and château; it is where you can find Rusalka’s pond. And the pond’s name is not a coincidence!

Where to Enjoy Dvořák’s Music

The festival called Dvořák’s Olomouc takes place in Olomouc in Moravia every May. You will mostly hear Dvořák’s music there, as well as music by other Czech composers. The annual Dvořák’s Prague festival takes place in September. This year, it will take place at several different places in Prague from 4 to 24 September. It is also the 180th anniversary of Dvořák’s birth this year and the programme is full of quality concerts. It is traditionally one of the most frequently visited festivals of its kind in the Czech Republic. The festival usually takes place in Rudolfinum, special concerts are also performed in St. Vitus Cathedral and in the Saint Agnes Convent.