Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

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6 things you (probably) didn’t know about Dvořák

Wed Mar 4 2015

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To celebrate the latest in our Flying the Flag series, we thought we would let you know a few facts about the man of the hour, Antonín Dvořák.

– His middle name was Leopold. Yes, Leopold

– He was the son of a butcher/ innkeeper named František Dvořák. As well as sharing several difficult-to-type accents in their names, they both had a deep love of music – František was an extremely accomplished player of the zither (sort of early guitar thing).

– Dvořák’s connection to the music of his homeland ran deep – throughout his work he employed rhythms from Moravian and Bohemian folksongs.

– Upon emigrating to the USA, he developed a strong interest in Native American and African American music. In 1893, he claimed that “I am now satisfied that the future music of this country must be founded upon what are called the negro melodies.”

– He also had quite an exciting love life. As a young man, he fell in love with one of his students, but she never reciprocated his feelings. Naturally, he decided to do the logical thing and marry her sister Anna instead, with whom he had 9 children.

– Dvořák enjoyed success in his own lifetime. However, he never let it go to his head, and despite receiving a lump sum of $15,000 to come to New York, he maintained that “Although I have moved well enough into the great world of music, I am still what I was – a simple Czech jobbing composer.”

We perform Dvořák’s New World Symphony at the Royal Festival Hall tonight, 4 March 2015 tickets/more info 

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