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Antonín Dvořák

Dvořák, Antonín (änˈtônēn dvôrˈzhäk) [key], 1841–1904, Czech composer. He studied at the Organ School, Prague (1857–59) and played viola in the National Theater Orchestra (1861–71) under Smetana. With the performance (1873) of his Hymnus he attracted wide attention. In 1884 he went to England to conduct some of his works and eight years later moved on to the United States. While director (1892–94) of the National Conservatory, New York, he composed his most famous work, the Symphony in E Minor, Op. 95, From the New World (1893). It conveys with great exuberance Dvořák's impressions of American scenes and folk music and at the same time evokes nostalgia for his native land. After his return to Prague he was professor and director of the conservatory there. He drew freely on Czech folk music and materials in his works, which are outstanding for their rhythmic variety, melodic invention, and brilliant instrumentation. They include nine symphonies (two published posthumously), as well as symphonic poems, concertos, overtures, string quartets and other chamber music, operas, songs, choral works (mostly religious), and some piano pieces, notable for their freshness of romantic imagination.

See biographical studies by G. Hughes (1967), J. Clapham (1966), V. Fischl, ed. (1943, repr. 1970), and M. B. Beckerman (2002).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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