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Antonin Dvorak

Dvorak (dvôr′ zhäk), Antonin, Bohemian composer, was born at Mühlhausen on the Moldau in 1841, and was the son of an inn-keeper.  He learned music, it is said, first from the gypsies, but entered the Prague conservatory as bandsman and organist.  In 1883 his famous Stabat Mater, produced in London in that year, first stamped him as a really great composer, and earned for him later the honorary degree from Cambridge of Doctor of Music.  His Spectre’s Bride, composed for the Birmingham festival of 1885, met with enthusiastic reception, as did his oratorio, St. Ludmila, composed for the Leeds festival (1886).  In 1892 he wrote a four-act opera, Dimitrij, which was first produced in Vienna.  In the same year he visited the United States, where he took the direction, for a while, of the National Conservatory of Music at New York, and while there wrote a cantata, entitled Columbus, which was produced at the Metropolitan Opera House, New York.  His other works include dances, songs and symphonies, an opera, Jacobin, and a cantata, The American Flag.  A further popular work of Dvorak’s is Der König und der Köhler (The King and the Charcoal-Burner).  He died in 1904.