Leoš Janáček

Leoš Janáček
Leoš Janáček was a Czech conductor, organist and teacher. The son of a cantor and teacher, he joined the choir of the school of the Augustinian Order in Brno at age 11, and later continued his studies at the city's teachers' college and the Prague Organ School. After brief and unsuccessful stays in Leipzig and Vienna, he returned to Brno and the teachers' institute, this time as a teacher himself. In addition, he was deeply engaged with Moravian folk music, which he did a great deal to popularise, as he also did for Czech national music.  In 1881 he founded the organ school in Brno. It was his third opera, Jenůfa, that first brought him recognition after it was performed to great acclaim in Brno in 1904, in Prague in 1916, and in a German version in Vienna and Cologne in 1918. This success, combined with the historical events of the time (the establishment of the Republic of Czechoslovakia), had an inspiring effect on Janáček work, resulting in his spending the last ten years of his life composing a series of works attesting to his originality and creative power. It was only then that the European concert world took note of him, and these later works – such as Kát'a Kabanová, The Cunning Little Vixen, his Sinfonietta and Glagolitic Mass, his rhapsody Taras Bulba, his two string quartets and other chamber pieces. He is considered, along with Antonín Dvořák and Bedřich Smetana, to be one of the most important Czech composers.


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