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Biography
Bohuslav Martinu (1890-1959) was a Czech composer and violinist whose works combined traditional and modern forms--such as neoclassicism and jazz, respectively--with subtle, occasional hints of Moravian folk melodies.

Martinu enjoyed late acclaim for a composer who began so young.  Initially an aspiring violinist, he gained a reputation as a fine performer in his hometown and even joined the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra as second violinist.  Celebrated posthumously as a national treasure, he couldn't gain a foothold in his native country at the time, becoming disenchanted and moving to Paris in 1923, where he began composing prolifically under the tutelage of Albert Roussel and the influences of Cocteau's circle, impressionism, neoclassicism, Stravinsky and jazz.  Martinu churned out operas, ballets, music for radio and film, concertos, and orchestral and chamber works during this time, and gained his first international notoriety in the French capital.

Branded a "musical degenerate" by the advancing Nazi party, Martinu was forced to relinquish the acclaim gained in France and flee to America in 1940, where he continued to compose at an impressive rate.  There he became associated with conductor Serge Koussevitzky, who commissioned a symphony and conducted some of Martinu's works with the Boston Symphony.  A notable piece from this time is his Memorial to Lidice, which was an outcry against the Nazi fascist oppression that had driven him from Europe and executed all the men in his home village.

Martinu returned to Europe via Paris and then Prague in 1946, where he was offered a chair in the Prague Conservatory's graduate school which he declined due to the spread of communism.  He returned to America in 1948 to teach composition at Princeton, then returned again after a short time in Nice to become a Curtis Institute of Philadelphia pedagogue in 1953.  Charles Munch led the Boston Symphony in its debut of Martinu's Sixth (and final) Symphony, Fantaisies symphoniques that same year.
This biography was most recently edited by...
Simeon - 1 Feb 2010
Simeon - 1 Feb 2010
Simeon - 28 Jan 2010
Simeon - 28 Jan 2010
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