Antonín Dvořák

Born September 8, 1841 in Muhlhausen, Bohemia
Died May 1, 1904 in Prague, Czechoslovakia




Romantic 1820-1910


Carnival Overture, Humoresque in E flat minor, Slavonic Dance in E minor, Symphony No. 9 “From the New World”

Antonín Dvořák


Dvořák was a country boy, one of seven children of a butcher/innkeeper in a small village in Bohemia. Bohemia was full of music and young Antonín took violin lessons and fiddled with his father in the village band. But there was no question about his future; he was to go into the inn keeping business. Since many German travelers came to Bohemia, his father sent him to live with an uncle in a nearby town and learn German.

There he met a friend of his uncle’s who was a musician. The friend taught Dvořák viola (which became his favorite instrument), piano, and organ and, when he was sixteen, Dvořák went to study music in Prague. He played violin and viola in Prague’s National Opera Orchestra until, at thirty-one, he won a prize for composition. He soon became famous as a composer, and was able to make a living composing and teaching composition at the Prague Conservatory.

In 1892, Dvořák came to America to be the head of the National Conservatory of Music. While he was in the United States, he wrote the famous “New World Symphony” and other pieces which suggest American folk tunes. He even slipped a little of “Yankee Doodle” into one of his pieces!

After music, Dvořák’s strongest interest was trains, and he was often seen at the railway station in Prague observing, studying railway schedules, and visiting with railway engineers.