Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

Archive for Leos Janacek

Music History Monday: Leoš Janáček: Composer, Patriot and Patriot Composer!

Today we mark the 163rd anniversary of the birth – on July 3, 1854 – of the Czech (Moravian) composer Leoš Janáček. First things first, as Janáček’s name is notoriously mispronounced by non-Czechs. His first name – Leoš – is easy enough: “Lay-osh.” But his surname is a challenge for those of us who have trouble moving our vowels. We will learn to pronounce it in two steps. Step one: place an accent on the middle syllable: “Ya–NA-check”. Step two: accent the first syllable as well – “YA-NA-check” – and say it quickly: “YA-NA-check”. Excellent. Dude /d(j)uːd/ was born in the village of Hukvaldy in the Moravia-Silesia (north eastern) region of today’s Czech Republic. At the time of his birth, Moravia was part of the Austrian Empire and Janáček’s hometown was known by its German name of “Hochwald”. Young Janáček had a first-rate singing voice. At 11 he received a scholarship to attend the Queen’s Monastery and School in the city of Brno (pronounced Bur-NO), the largest city in Moravia. The Queen’s Monastery and School was a first-rate music conservatory. Janáček studied singing, organ, and piano and he did well. After graduating at the age of 15, he attended the Royal […]

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