About the Event
This festive performance in Prague combines beloved music with the thrill of dance.
- Antonín Dvořák – Selected works
- Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Selected works
- Johann Strauss – Selected works
|Prague Music Chamber Orchestra
Municipal House (Obecní dum)
The Municipal House is a popular Prague attraction and one of the most beautiful buildings in the Old Town, situated at Republic Square not far from the Powder Gate. In the Middle Ages the site housed the palace of the King of Bohemia,and was later used as a college, archbishop´s residence, and a military academy. The structure was eventually torn down, and in 1912 the new Municipal House was erected in the Art Nouveau style. Since opening, the Municipal House has been a glamorous location for festive balls, concerts, exhibitions and important meetings, including the declaration of Czechoslovak Independence in 1918. Today the Municipal House is used primarily as a venue for classical concerts in Prague. Its main hall is named after famous Czech composer Bedrich Smetana, and serves as one of the principal stages for the Prague Spring International Music Festival. The hall can accommodate up to 1200 people and has unique acoustics. The architectural highlight of the Smetana Hall is a glass dome decorated with steel grids and stained glass, which is illuminated when darkness falls. A place of pilgrimage for many of the worlds greatest organists, the real jewel of the Municipal House is the great organ, its almost 5000 pipes crowned with Smetana´s portrait.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Perhaps the most important composer of all time, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was an Austrian composer of the late 18th century. Born in 1756 in Salzburg, he showed prodigious musical talent from childhood. Beginning at five years of age, he composed more than 600 works, including concertos, symphonies, religious works and operas before his premature death at the age of 35. Hi influence over successive generations cannot be overestated - Ludwig van Beethoven wrote of Mozart "posterity will not see such a talent again in 100 years”. Despite the immense success of his compositions, and the acclaim he received across Europe, Mozart achieved little financial security and rwas buried in an unmarked grave in Vienna's St Marx Cemetery.
Antonin Dvorak is considered to be one of the most well-known and prominent Czechs in the world, as his musical work gained international recognition already during his lifetime. He was born in 1841 in a small Czech village into a butcher’s family. At the age of 6, Dvorak started taking violin lessons and it immediately became obvious that the boy had exceptional talent in music. Later in life, he was learning to master piano and organ as well as simultaneously working in a slaughterhouse. After Dvorak turned 16, he was admitted to the Organ School in Prague that trained future professional composers. After graduating, he stayed in Prague, joined Karel Komzak’s orchestra and started actively composing his own music. However, he struggled to make ends meet and always had to work on the side by playing music in churches and giving private music lessons. Finally, 1874 became a turning point in his life when he won a financial grant from an Austrian Prize competition for his 15 submitted works. This allowed him to quit the orchestra and devote himself fully to composing. During this period, he wrote his Slavonic Dances, Moravian Duets and Violin Concerto, which brought him sweeping success. In 1892 he was invited to teach at the New York National Conservatory, where he stayed until 1895 before returning home. He started teaching at the Prague conservatory and later became its director. Until his death in 1904, he had been a successful and well-loved composer, both in his homeland and around the whole world.
Johann Strauss Jr., also known as the king of waltz, is the most famous Austrian composer of dance music and operettas. He was born in 1825 in Vienna’s suburbs. Even though his father, Johann Strauss I, was a respected composer, he was totally opposed to his son' secision to dedicate his life to music and wanted him to become a banker instead. Therefore, the boy had to learn to play the violin literally in secrecy. His tutor, Franz Amon, was actually the first violin player of his father’s orchestra. Meanwhile, the young Strauss went to the polytechnic college at his father’s request. In 1844 Johann Strauss Jr. formed his own small orchestra that performed in different casinos and restaurants. But his father, being very influential on the local musical scene, made a lot of effort to get his son’s orchestra banned from playing at popular locations and events. However, this could hardly stop the young Strauss from becoming a success in Austria. After his father’s death, Strauss merged both their orchestras and started touring Austria and nearby countries. He as well as his younger brothers ,who were also composers, basked in fame due to their dance music that sounded so modern and innovative back then. Johann Strauss also travelled to the United States where he beat the record by conducting an orchestra of 1000 people. Until his death in 1899, Strauss was extremely popular thanks to his light and lively music, full of blissfulness, zest for life and enjoyment. His works celebrate nature’s beauty, purl of water, gush of wind and wisper of tree leaves.