Born On This Day: Antonin Dvorak

Antonin Dvorak’s statue in NYC, by Ivan Mestrovic

The genius Bohemian composer Antonin Dvorak was born on this day in 1841.

For three years, he lived in New York, impressed by the culture of the late 19th century, particularly the music of the indigenous and African Americans. He agreed to direct the National Conservatory of Music only under the condition that gifted Native and Afro-American students could study for free, if they could not pay the tuition. His encouragement and support promoted a wider appreciation of early jazz and blues and all music we think of as American.

To my ears, he is one of the best European composers of all time. The land speaks through his music. Of course, he was an unusual man too. You can’t be an interesting artist without being an interesting psyche.

8 September 2015

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