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Czech Composer, American Inspiration

Czech Composer, American Inspiration

Between 1892 and 1895, Dvořák was the musical director of the National Conservatory of Music located in New York City, where its founder, Jeannette Meyer Thurber, offered him the job – he was already an established composer. While the Czech-born composer moved to the United States to fill the position, his stay was short-lived because he missed home; however, his goal was to discover American music. While Dvořák was influenced by both Native American and African-American melodies, he never alluded to any particular melody that inspired the New World Symphony. The Largo theme from the second movement turned into the “pseudo spiritual” named “Goin’ Home” when lyrics were added long after the premiere.

Dvořák began composing the New World Symphony in New York City, but finished it while visiting Spillville, Iowa—a Czech-speaking community—in 1893. Inspired by the wide-open spaces such as the prairies he had seen, Dvořák also composed the String Quartet in F (“the American”) and the String Quintet in E-flat during the same trip.

The New World Symphony combines the late-romantic European classical symphony with diverse American culture, and is one of Dvořák’s most well-known works.

Dvorak

Dvorak

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Musical Insights

Free Pre-Concert Preview Series!

Enhance your concert experience with a sneak preview — Composers come alive and their passions take center stage when ESO General Manager David Ellis and ESO Maestro Lawrence Eckerling take you on an insider’s tour of the history and highlights behind the music.

Maestro Lawrence Eckerling and David Ellis will explore the October concert program in depth.

The Merion
Friday, October 19 at 1:30 pm,
The Merion Crystal Ballroom at
1611 Chicago Avenue at Davis Street, Evanston.
FREE and open to the public.

Light refreshments will be served and casual tours of newly renovated apartments will be available after the program.