If you’re not a classical music fan this name might be new to you. I, however, had classical music shoved down my throat for most of my childhood so Dvořák and I are old pals. It doesn’t take much guessing to realize this guy is Czech if you know anything about the Czech alphabet. He lived within the boundaries of the Austrian Empire and the village he was from, Nelahozevas, is very close to present day Prague. He’s definitely one of those Czech big shots that doesn’t get the amount of time in the spotlight that he deserves.
I guess I haven’t really mentioned what this guy is famous for. He was a composer. A pretty genius composer, actually. He wrote operas, symphonies, and choir music. He wrote nine symphonies total (I believe) that are very similar to the style of Beethoven’s, but he was influenced the most by Czech folk music. Interesting for a classical music composer, huh? I think so too. His most famous works are his Slavonic Dances. Really gorgeous stuff. If you have a chance, give them a listen. Some fun facts about Dvořák: he married the sister of a student of his and they had nine children together. He also spent a good deal of his life in America including some time in Iowa in a Czech-speaking community there. Talk about random, right? haha.
Dvořák’s grave is located in the Vyšehrad cemetery in Prague. I’ll talk more about Vyšehrad in an upcoming entry. That picture up there is one that I actually took. It was pretty cool to visit the final resting place of a composer who’s a personal favorite of mine. I remember walking through the cemetery, not even knowing Dvořák was in there, and stumbling upon it. I thought, “Could this be THE Dvořák? Surely not!” I took a picture of the tomb just to be sure and I asked my boss when I met back up with the group later that day. She told me that yes, that was the actual Dvořák’s tomb. Boy was I glad I took a picture!
This is a youtube video of one of Dvořák’s Slavonic Dances being performed by Yo-Yo Ma. Enjoy!