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Antonin Dvorak


Antonin Leopold Dvorák was born on September 8, 1841, in a tiny town north of Prague, the eldest of 14 children.1)


His father was a butcher, an innkeeper, and a professional zither musician. Every family gathering was accompanied by folk music, and young Antonin quickly joined his father in the neighborhood band – also worked as an apprentice butcher.2)


The name Dvorák is pronounced 'Devor-jacques.'3)


Dvoák studied organ, violin and piano.4)

Bohemian Provisional Theatre Orchestra

He was a member of the Bohemian Provisional Theatre Orchestra, which performed in restaurants and at balls. In 1871, he withdrew from the orchestra to focus on writing, earning a living by teaching piano.5)

Anna Čermáková

After wooing and being rejected by her sister, Josefina, Dvorák married Anna Čermáková in 1873.6)

Church Organist

Dvorák and his wife had nine children in all, six of them survived childhood. After his marriage, he left the orchestra to become a church organist, which provided him with a higher pay, a higher social rank, and more time to write.7)


Dvoák's early compositions earned neither critical acclaim or public performance. Some of the composer's early pieces were even destroyed by the self-critical composer. However, his music began to pique the interest of critic Eduard Hanslick and composer Johannes Brahms, pictured, who boosted Dvoák's career.8)


Simrock, the publisher, commissioned Dvorák to create some Slavonic Dances for piano duo in 1877, on the advice of Brahms. The sheet music for the eight dances, aimed at the lucrative domestic market, sold out in one day.9)

Symphony No.7

Simrock, Dvorák's publisher, neglected to provide him an advance for his Symphony No.7. Simrock then refused to put Dvoák's true first name on the cover, preferring to Germanize it instead.10)


Away from the music Dvorák was a dedicated train spotting enthusiast, spending hours at Prague's Franz Josef railway station. He is claimed to have memorized the timetable. And while he was lecturing, he would always ask his students to explain in detail any recent railway rides they had taken.11)


Dvorák and his wife both appreciated getting up quite early. When they stayed in Cambridge with composer and organist Charles Villiers Stanford, left, the Englishman was shocked to find the Dvoáks sitting under a tree in his garden when he awakened at 6 a.m.12)

New York

Dvorák was convinced to travel to New York by the promise of a large sum. He was offered an unfathomable income of $15,000 for a little teaching and conducting and four months of vacation.13)

Steam Ships And Pigeons

In New York, he discovered a new interest in steam ships and pigeons.14)

String Quartet No.12

Dvoák composed three of his most renowned pieces while in America: the String Quartet No.12, known as the 'American,' the Cello Concerto in B minor, and the 'New World' Symphony. When he first performed the symphony, commentators debated whether it was an all-American work or simply more of Dvorák's regular Bohemian fare.15)

antonin_dvorak.txt · Last modified: 2022/02/28 02:43 by eziothekilla34