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A society for all aspects of Czech and Slovak classical music

T he Dvořák Society for Czech and Slovak Music is devoted to the musical arts of all Czech and Slovak composers and performers, past and present. The Dvořák Society aims to encourage performances and promote interest in this respect. It publish articles and information about all aspects of Czech and Slovak classical musical life and holds lectures: and it gives direct financial and other support to worthy causes. > more + 

Dvořák Portrait


Bohuslav Martinů, composerJiří BělohlávekLeoš Janáček, composer
Vítězslava Kaprálová, composer, conductorLudmila Peterková, clarinettistPetr Eben, composer, organist, pianist
Erwin Schulhoff, composer, pianistGabriela Beňačková-ČápováBedřich Smetana, composer

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/ On-line resource: Antonín Dvořák and His Legacy

Lion The Dvořák Society has funded the translation from Czech into English of a website devoted to Antonín Dvořák compiled by Ondřej Šupka, giving an invaluable information source for English-speaking members and the general public

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^ Posted 28 November 2018
Prague Concert Life 1850-1881: an annotated Database
If you don't already know of, or have never investigated the Prague Concert Life Database, this is a free online resource that offers fully searchable records of all manner of musical events (barring opera) taking place in Prague during the third quarter of the 19th Century. These records, all in English, are taken from first-hand sources – from Prague newspapers and journals – and offer fascinating insights into the city's musical, social and cultural environment, its venues, institutions, societies and individuals. From the most scintillating and exciting public concerts down to daily musical soirées at the local hostelries, all manner of events are in there!
The resource was first developed at Cardiff University between 2005-2008. During the last year, thanks to the generosity and enthusiastic support of the late Professor John Tyrrell, the database has been comprehensively redeveloped, and is now maintained and hosted independently. Most excitingly, it now has the facility to to display original sources texts (these are in the process of being added), and benefits from a host of new features, including a very useful calendar view. I hope that over the next few years its coverage of the whole span of an intended 31 years will be completed.
If you haven't visited the site before then please take a look and enjoy a little browse – the new address is www.prague-concerts.info.
Currently the database holds records of more than 6000 events spanning over 250 venues, encompassing some 260 societies and institutions and some 1800 individuals.

^ Posted 17 September 2018
Dvořák American Heritage Association – Fall 2018 Events:
Dvořák: The Chamber Music Survey with Martinů Quartet
Sunday, September 23, 2018
3:00pm - 5:00pm
Bohemian National Hall, 321 East 73rd Street New York, NY, 10021
“Dvořák: the Chamber Music Survey” brings Dvořák’s complete chamber music works to New York audiences at the historic Bohemian National Hall.  The brilliant Martinů Quartet from Prague will perform at the third annual concert in the series in September 2018.  Acclaimed by audiences around the world, they appear regularly at the Prague Spring Festival as well as concerts in many European countries, the United States, Canada and Japan. Formed in 1976 at the Prague Conservatory, the Martinů Quartet (formerly Havlák Quartet) earned prizes at the ARD Munich, Evian, Yehudi Menuhin, and Prague Spring competitions.  DAHA is pleased to be bringing the Martinů Quartet to New York audiences: the musical selections will include Dvořák’s Terzetto in C Major Opus 74; String Quartet No. 12 in F Major Opus 96, the “American”; and String Quartet No. 14 in A-Flat Major Opus 105.
The Martinů Quartet will guide listeners on a transcendental listening journey as DAHA continues to explore the chamber music of Czech master Antonín Dvořák.  A critic for the musical journal The Strad wrote of them : “The Martinů Quartet played...with such extraordinary homogeneity of sound and technical ease that their reading sounded deceptively laid back. … Here again the Martinů players showed their gift for finding the emotional heart of a piece. This was an exquisitely crafted and profoundly moving performance.”
Martinů Quartet: Lubomír Havlák, 1st violin; Libor Kaňka, 2nd violin; Zbyněk Paďourek, viola; Jitka Vlašánková, cello.
The Terzetto, or trio for two violins and viola in C major, Opus 74 is a charming miniature in which Czech composer Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904) looks back at the Classical Style of Haydn and Mozart. The Neo-Classical writing is deftly synthesized with melodies and rhythms from the Bohemian Folklore. This Terzetto, like much of Dvořák’s work, is a record of the thoughts and impressions that came to Dvořák when walking in nature.  He composed the piece in 1887 for close friends, but when it proved to be too difficult for them, the prolific composer immediately wrote another quartet!
The String Quartet in F major Opus 96, the "American" Quartet, is one of the best-known pieces in the entire Standard Repertoire of Classical Music.  It was composed by Dvořák during his epoch-making, three-year sojourn in the United States. This composition came to life in a period of great joy and inspiration, experienced during a visit to the Czech-American village of Spillville, Iowa, in the summer of 1893. The melodies have a distinct American flavor, reminiscent of both Native American chants and African American melodies. In the third movement, you hear the delightful bird song of the Scarlet Tanager from the midwestern region. In this work Dvořák largely avoids the rich, late-Romantic style then current in Europe.
The String Quartet in A flat major Opus 105 comes late in Dvořák’s creative life. By the time he wrote this, he had risen from poverty and obscurity to the status of an international celebrity.  Dvořák had already proven himself. In this work, the master gives us a glimpse of the excitement, the passion and the sheer joy of Bohemian folklore; and all this within the framework of a large, late-Romantic String Quartet. The youthful enthusiasm of his previous music has now given way to a more philosophical view of life.
Though chronologically the last of Dvořák's chamber works, the opus 105 is numbered second to last.  Composed in 1895 (begun in New York and completed in Bohemia), it represents a culminating statement in Dvořák's chamber music output, "an affirmation of life from the standpoint of one who sees and knows, and an expression of thanks for all its material and immaterial beauty," in the words of Dvořák specialist Jarmil Burghauser.
General Admission to be paid at the door: $30; Seniors, Students, Czech Center Club Members $20.
Supported by Bohemian Benevolent & Literary Association.
Jarmila Novotná, My Life in Song: Book Launch and Musical Tribute with House of Time Ensemble
Wednesday, October 10, 2018
7:00pm - 9:00pm
Bohemian National Hall
321 East 73rd Street New York, NY,10021
Join us for the exclusive American introduction of the memoirs of Czech-American opera star and film actress, Jarmila Novotná (1907-1994). Author and editor William V. Madison will speak about the international triumphs of this multi-talented celebrity, who acted as a cultural ambassador for the Czechoslovak nation throughout her career - beginning in Prague with her opera debut as a lyric soprano at age 17 and including 16 years with New York's Metropolitan Opera. Her granddaughter, Tatiana Daubek, with Daubek’s ensemble House of Time, will pay musical tribute with a program featuring music of Mozart, Krommer, and Dvořák. Visit the Dvořák Room exhibition of archival Novotná images, courtesy of the George Daubek Collection. See also: www.houseoftimemusic.org and www.tatianadaubek.com.
The book, Jarmila Novotná, My Life in Song (University Press of Kentucky, 2018), will be available for purchase and signing.
Free admission.  Seating is limited, first come, first served.
Celebrating 100 Years of Czechoslovak Independence, 1918-2018
WILLIAM V. MADISON, a former associate editor of Opera News, interviewed Jarmila Novotná while he pursued his MFA in creative writing from Columbia University. A former producer for Dan Rather at CBS News, he is the author of Madeline Kahn: Being the Music, A Life (University Press of Mississippi, 2015). His writings about music and singers have appeared in GBOpera.it, Houston Grand Opera’s Opera Cues, lingua franca, Andante.com, and The Forward, as well as his blog, Billevesées.
HOUSE OF TIME known for their “fluency and command” (San Francisco Classical Voice) is dedicated to both well-known and underperformed repertoire of the 17th through the 21st century played on period instruments. Members and guests include Juilliard and Curtis faculty and alumni of The Juilliard School, as well as prize-winners of major international competitions. Using the instruments and techniques of the past to express the vivid passions in the music, House of Time has moved audiences and keeps them coming back for more. Critics have declared oboist, Gonzalo X. Ruiz, “one of only a handful of truly superb baroque oboists in the world” (Alte Musik Aktuell); Tatiana Daubek, is known for her "sleekly elegant playing" (Gazettes Long Beach); Avi Stein, one of NYC’s finest, is described by the New York Times as “a brilliant organ soloist” and Beiliang Zhu, is described by the New Yorker as “elegant, sensual and stylishly wild”. Currently in their 6th season as ensemble in residence at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, home audiences continue to grow. House of Time has been presented by the Berkeley Early Music Festival, Czech Center New York, Early Music Festival: NYC, Music Before 1800, San Diego and San Francisco Early Music Societies, The University Club in NYC, the Yale Collection of Musical Instruments. This season the group with perform and give masterclasses at Michigan State University. House of Time continues to give free outreach concerts at Mount Sinai Concerts for Patients in New York City and may be seen giving impromptu pop up concerts in casual venues such as local cafes. House of Time is also on the roster of GEMS Live! Artists.
TATIANA DAUBEK, a “sleekly elegant” player (Gazettes Long Beach) is regular as concertmaster for New York’s oldest Bach cantata series, Bach Vespers Holy Trinity. In addition, she performs with the American Classical Orchestra, Handel and Haydn Society, Musica Angelica, and Trinity Baroque Orchestra. Ms. Daubek is a founding member of House of Time, a chamber ensemble with a thriving series in Manhattan dedicated to performing music on period instruments. They are currently in their sixth season as ensemble in residence at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Manhattan and have been presented by The Czech Center New York, Berkeley Early Music Festival, Early Music Festival: NYC, San Diego and San Francisco Early Music Societies, The University Club in New York City and Yale Collection of Musical Instruments. Ms. Daubek has taken part in multiple tours across North and South America with Musica Angelica/Wiener Akademie of The Infernal Comedy and The Giacomo Variations starring John Malkovich. An active member of her Czech heritage, Ms. Daubek helped start the Festival Jarmily Novotne, a festival in the Czech Republic commemorating the life of star soprano and grandmother, Jarmila Novotna. She has collaborated abroad with the Czech ensemble, Musica Florea and was a featured soloist broadcast live on Czech Radio.  Daubek holds degrees from the University of North Texas, Boston University and The Juilliard School. Aside from music, Tatiana is also a photographer specializing in portraiture and street photography and her work can be seen at www.tatianadaubekphotography.com.  GONZALO X. RUIZ is one of America’s most sought after historical woodwind soloists.  In recent seasons Mr. Ruiz has appeared as principal oboist and soloist with leading groups in the U.S. and Europe, such as The English Concert, Sonnerie, Wiener Akademie, Philharmonia, Trinity Wall Street, The Boston Early Music Festival, and Musica Angelica, under such conductors as McGegan, Savall, Manze, Antonini, Huggett, Goodwin, Pinnock, Hasselböck, Rattle, Hogwood, and Egarr.  He has been featured in numerous recordings of orchestral, chamber, and solo repertoire and his reconstructions of the original versions of Bach’s Orchestral Suites received a Grammy nomination in 2010.  Critics have declared Mr. Ruiz “one of only a handful of truly superb baroque oboists in the world” (Alte Musik Aktuell) and “a master of expansive phrasing, lush sonorities, and deft passagework” (San Francisco Chronicle).  For years he has taught at Oberlin Conservatory, the Longy School of Music, and most recently was appointed professor at The Juilliard School.  Mr. Ruiz has given master classes at Yale University, Indiana University, the New World Symphony, and his former students now fill the ranks of many top groups across the country.  Equally accomplished on the modern oboe, he has been principal oboe of the Buenos Aires Philharmonic, the New Century Chamber Orchestra, with recent performances including the concertos of Mozart, Vaughn Williams, and Strauss.  For many years Mr. Ruiz led the ensemble American Baroque, specializing in new music commissions, for which he received the 2000 ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming.  He is an acknowledged expert in historical reed techniques and examples of his work are on permanent display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Boston-Based cellist JACQUES LEE WOOD enjoys an active career as performer, educator, scholar, and composer. His eclectic interests have led to a diverse range of musical genres and styles: historical performance on period instruments, commissioning new works for both modern and baroque cello, improvisation in both classical and non-classical styles, and most recently composing his own works. Recent compositions include a multi-movement work for 5 string electric cello with live electronics, and a collaborative composition for guitar and cello with StringLab partner, Simon Powis. Dr. Wood is a founding member of StringLab, Antico Moderno, a period chamber ensemble that commissions new works for period instruments, and the NYC-based bluegrass band Cathedral Parkway where he adopts a multi-faceted role as a vocalist, mandolin, banjo, and cello player. An avid chamber musician and orchestral musician, Wood is a member of the Pedroia String Quartet and recently appointed principal cello of the Cape Symphony. He is a frequent guest artist with A Far Cry, Aston Magna, Yale Schola Cantorum, Trinity Baroque Orchestra, Bachsolisten Seoul, Bach Collegium Japan, Juilliard 415, Firebird Ensemble, and the Handel and Haydn Society. A recognized pedagogue, Wood is an Artist-in-Residence at the University of New Hampshire and holds faculty positions at Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra (Intensive Community Program) and Milton Academy. He has held residencies at Yale University, University of Ulsan, Tufts University, and the Boston Conservatory. Wood is currently on the faculty of the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival (Yale Summer School), Summer Youth Music School (University of New Hampshire), and is a frequent guest artist at the Great Mountains Festival (South Korea), Korea Strings Research Institute, Bari International Music Festival, Banff Centre, Avaloch Farm, Aston Magna, and the Manchester Summer Chamber Music Festival. As a recording artist, Wood has released recordings on the Hyperion and Navona labels, and is currently recording a new album with the Pedroia Quartet for Naxos/Navona Records. Dr. Wood completed his BM at the New England Conservatory of Music under Laurence Lesser, and holds a MM and DMA from Yale University, where he studied with Aldo Parisot.
ALISSA SMITH, violist, holds music degrees from the Australian National University and the Juilliard School, where she was a Teaching Fellow. Her chamber music experience has included recitals at Carnegie Hall; performances at the Park City, Aspen, Bravo! Colorado, Steamboat Springs, and Verbier music festivals; and a residency with the Emerson String Quartet. A versatile performer on modern and baroque violas, Alissa has appeared with The Knights at the Tanglewood and Ravinia Festivals, and toured Australia and North America with The Australian Chamber Orchestra. She has performed with the Orchestra of St. Lukes, American Composers Orchestra, Klangforum Wien and the Houston Symphony Orchestra. International festival appearances include the Sydney Festival alongside Lou Reed and at the Istanbul International Jazz Festival. As a baroque violist Alissa currently performs with Clarion, NYBI and The Trinity Baroque Orchestra, and recently appeared with Apollo’s Fire, The Sebastians, Opera Lafayette, NY Collegium and at the Staunton and Carmel Bach Festivals. Alissa can be heard on numerous movie soundtracks including “Casanova”, “Julie and Julia”, “True Grit” and “Keeping Up with the Joneses”; on period instrument recordings of Bach Motets (The Trinity Choir) and Mozart Symphonies (Apollos Fire);  and on the multi Grammy award winning album “Winter Morning Walks” with Dawn Upshaw and The Australian Chamber Orchestra.
Gilded Age Newsmakers: Antonín Dvořák, Jeanette Thurber, and the National Conservatory of Music of America
Thursday, October 18, 2018
7:00pm - 9:00pm
Bohemian National Hall
321 E 73rd St New York, NY USA From the moment Czech composer Antonín Dvořák stepped ashore to assume the post of Director of the National Conservatory of Music of America in September 1892, he was besieged by reporters anxious to follow his every move.  Active behind the scenes was music impresario Jeanette Meyer Thurber, Founder and President of the Conservatory and a New York mover and shaker. In a talk by cultural historian Majda Kallab Whitaker of the Dvořák American Heritage Association, learn how these unlikely partners charged the musical scene with excitement in Gilded Age New York. Their combined efforts inspired a new generation of American composers and led to the creation of some of Dvořak's greatest works - from the "New World" Symphony to the Cello Concerto - during his epoch-making three-year American residency. Visit the Czech Center exhibition of the original manuscript of Dvořák's magnificent Cello Concerto, a national treasure on loan from the Czech National Museum, as well as an associated exhibit in the Dvořák Room.   Presented in collaboration with Czech Center New York.
Admission is free, limited seating.
MAJDA KALLAB WHITAKER is an independent scholar and curatorial consultant specializing in late nineteenth and early twentieth century cultural and design history, and has acted as curatorial advisor for DAHA's Dvořák Room in the Bohemian National Hall since 2006.  She has presented lectures, walking tours, and exhibitions including "New World Diplomacy: The Contract that Brought Antonín Dvořák to America," and recently authored an article on Antonín Dvořák, Jeannette Thurber and the National Conservatory of Music of America in 19th Century Magazine, a publication of the Victorian Society in America.  Born in Prague, she is a graduate of Vassar College and Bard Graduate Center for material culture studies in New York City, and serves as a Board Member of the Dvořák American Heritage Association and the Bohemian Benevolent & Literary Association.

^ Posted 17 July 2018
Antony Gordon has now stepped down from this role and despite a number of appeals we are yet to find a new person to fulfil this position. At the recent Leamington Festival we sold over £200 of materials. This is a source of revenue of the Society but more importantly it enables our members to buy titles not available in the UK. Through the Society website we also sell our publications to non-members both in the UK and overseas.
This publicizes the work of the Society.
For more information please contact The Secretary
Tel: 01782 631274

^ Posted 9 May 2018
Under the General Data Protection Regulations which came into effect on 25 May 2018 the Dvořák Society, like many other organisations, is required to consider how it uses personal data and to inform its members. Our Privacy Notice is to be found here.

^ Posted 17 March 2018
The National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library in Cedar Falls, Iowa, USA is seeking to appoint a President & CEO.
For details click here.

^ Posted 28 February 2018
SALES MANAGER REQUIRED. Antony Gordon wishes to step down from this role due to health issues and relocation. The Society is seeking someone to take over this important role. Enquiries to Antony please.

^ Posted 28 February 2018
The Dvořák Society Collection and Library
The Society’s collection of publications, recordings and scores formerly held in the basement of Glamorgan Records Office, Cathays Park, Cardiff University have now been moved to Egham, to the Depository of Senate House Library . There are opportunities for members to assist in cataloguing, especially those with Czech /Slovak language skills and musical knowledge.
Please note that all volunteers are given guidance and an initial training. If you are interested in volunteering please contact David Roberts, the Secretary.
For more information please see the guidlelines and policy on the library page.

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