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Antonin Dvorak

Antonin Dvorak

(Bohemia 1841-1904)


Antonin Dvorak was born on September 8, 1841, in a little Bohemian village. Dvorak took lessons from an organist. Dvorak took his formal training at the Organ College in Prague, and found a job as an organist in a small church. Johannes Brahms introduced Dvorak to a famous publisher, and helped him qualify for an Austrian state fellowship for artists. Dvorak's Slavonic Dances launched his international reputation. Operas and symphonies followed and he earned enough from his musical compositions to resign his organist job. Prague Conservatory prevailed on him to teach composition for one hour a day, his lessons soon stretched out to three or four hours a day. A formal invitation to America was received by Dvorak with contract offer from the National Conservatory of Music in New York. The proposal was for two years as director of the school, teaching three hours a day for eight months, and conducting eight concerts annually. The salary was $15,000 a year. The E Minor Symphony known as the New World Symphony came about from his travels in the United States. In 1894, Dvorak returned home and for the last ten years of his life he continued to compose. the Czechs honored him as their elder statesman of culture and the Austrian government made him a senator. At the end of his life Dvorak was in serious financial straits as he had sold his many compositions for so little he had nothing to live on. He died in 1904.

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