Leoš Janáček

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About Leoš Janáček

The works of Leoš Janáček are imbued with the melodies and rhythms of Czech folk music, but with a modern twist. He was a leading figure in the revival of folk music traditions in the early 20th century. Janáček was born in the Moravian village of Hukvaldy in 1854, and spent his early career conducting choirs and teaching organ in Brno, the provincial capital. Several piano works in the early 1900s, including On an Overgrown Path (1901-08), demonstrate Janáček’s distinctive take on his folk inspirations. International recognition came late, and he was already in his 60s when his third opera, Jenůfa (1894-1903), was staged to great acclaim in Prague in 1916. The following year, Janáček met and became obsessed with a young woman, Kamila Stösslová. This sparked a late creative flowering, and his most famous works were written in his last decade. These include the large-scale Sinfonietta (1926) and Glagolitic Mass (1926-27), two intimate and confessional string quartets (1923, 1928), and operas that play out his relationship with Stösslová in allegory, Káťa Kabanová and The Cunning Little Vixen. Janáček died in 1928, and the poignant final scene of The Cunning Little Vixen was performed at his funeral.

Hukvaldy, Czech Republic
July 3, 1854
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