Jiří Bělohlávek conducts Dvořák's Slavonic Dances

The Prague Symphony Orchestra's Dvořák Cycle

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Prague Symphony Orchestra

Jiri Belohlavek — Conductor

Program notes

The second series of Dvořák's Slavonic Dances, performed by Jiří Bělohlávek and the Prague Symphonic Orchestra

Born into a humble family settled in Nelahozeves, a village near Prague, Antonín Dvořák left school at the age of 11 to learn his father's trades, butcher and innkeeper. Thankfully, Antonín's precocious musical gifts are quickly noticed, and the young boy is sent to study at his uncles's plance in Zlonice, then to Prague from 1857 onwards. Playing the viola in the Prager Kappelle's orchestra, Dvořák familiarized himself with the classical and contemporary masterworks. Enjoying a well-established reputation from his peers and the internation audience, Dvořák is in his lifetime a Major figure on the musical scene. Invited in Germanay, in France, in the United Kingdom and in the United States, Dvořák eventually went back to his homeland to manage the Conservatory of Pragua. Dvořák, who died in 1904, left a considerable oeuvre which has ever since been performed on the stages worldwide.

Among Dvořák's most beloved works in the entire world, there are the Slovanic Dances. In 1886, 8 years after the very successful first series, the composer wrote a second series of Slovanic Dances. Although Dvořák was very much inspired by Johannes Brahms's Hungarian Dances, the Slavonic Dances are not transcriptions and were orchestrated by Dvořák himself, after having been written for piano four hands.

Jiří Bělohlávek is one of the most sought after conductors of our times. He became chief conductor of the Czech Philharmonic in 1990, before teaching the art of conducting at the Prague Academy of Music. In 1993, he founded the Prague Philharmonia. He was named chief conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, and is currently chairman of the Prague Spring International Music Festival.

A closer look: composers and works

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