Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Leoš Janáček

Leoš Janáček, (3 July 1854 - 12 August 1928) was a famous Czech composer who was inspired by Moravian and Slavic folk music and created his own original style.  He is considered one of the most important Czech composers.

Although he was born in Hukvaldy, Moravia, he is considered a local Brno boy.  In 1865 he became a ward of the Abbey of St. Tomáš in Brno.  In 1874 he enrolled at the Prague Organ School but after he graduated at the top of his class he returned to Brno in 1875 to be a music teacher.

He later studied at the both the Leipzig Conservatory and the Vienna Conservatory.  In 1881 he returned to Brno and married his wife, who just happened to have been one of his students in 1876 at the Brno Teachers Institute.  In 1881 he founded and became director of the Brno Organ School which later became the Brno Conservatory.

His opera Jenúfa premiered in Brno in 1904.  It is often referred to as the "Moravian national opera". The Cunning Little Vixen, Sinfonietta, and Glagolitic Mass are some of his most celebrated operas.

In 1925 he received the first honorary doctorate to be awarded by Brno's Masaryk University.

The Janáček Theatre in Brno is the largest theatre in Czechland and is named after him.  Since 2013, the theatre hosts Janáček Brno, an international opera and music festival.  The airport in Ostrava is also named after Janáček as well.  Here's a clip I found out on YouTube from his 1891 Adagio for orchestra performed by the Prague Chamber Orchestra.

Update 2022:  Here's a Czech-language video, with English subtitles that takes about Janáček and Brno.


Update 2023:  Here's a 14½-minute video, mostly in English, about Janáček from 2014.  Composer Jakub Hrůša talks shows parts of Brno associated with Janáček with Sinfonietta as the background music.

©Philharmonic Orchestra

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