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It is hardly an exaggeration to say that the music of Antonín Dvořák is loved everywhere by everyone. Audiences crave Dvořák’s beautiful melodies and heart-touching harmonies, and we revel in the opportunity he provides performers to express our passions unabashedly. We are therefore thrilled to announce our twelfth festival season that examines the works of and around this Bohemian mastermind, in Music@Menlo’s signature thematic style.
During the festival’s three weeks, Dvořák will be surrounded by composers who were his neighbors, mentors, musical ancestors, and descendants. His immediately accessible language seamlessly connects the elite Western European cultures with the colorful, folk-inspired worlds to his East. For example, we’ll be hearing from Dvořák’s invaluable advisor and admirer Brahms, who was as interested in middle European music as Dvořák was in the great Viennese traditions. Smetana, the father of Czech classical music, will share our stage with Janáček, who so compellingly brought Dvořák’s unique language into modern times. And, we’ll venture all the way to America, where music profoundly benefitted from Dvořák’s presence and inspiration.
Please join our extraordinary selection of masterful performers and lecturers, a conglomerate of the world’s most gifted chamber music students, and Music@Menlo’s incomparable family of friends for an unforgettable Dvořák experience.
David Finckel and Wu Han, Artistic Directors
As the Romantic era progressed into the modern age, Western music saw an unfolding dynamic between the Viennese Classical tradition and the passionate nationalist expressions of a generation of Central European composers. By the turn of the twentieth century, Vienna had secured ownership of the definitive musical tradition, catalyzed by an incredible lineage of composers from Haydn and Beethoven to Brahms and Schoenberg. At the same time, while still under the rule of the Austro- Hungarian Empire, composers of the Czech lands, Hungary, and Romania proudly asserted their native identities as only composers could—through music.
At the center of this dialectic was Antonín Dvořák, the self-described simple Czech musikant who nonetheless garnered the respect of the paragon of Viennese musical society, Johannes Brahms. Dvořák fluently integrated the dual traditions of Western Classicism and Central European folk music, and his influence and popularity would be felt as far as the United States. Music@Menlo’s 2014 season charts the rich variety of Dvořák’s musical firmament. Over the course of eight colorful Concert Programs that revolve Around Dvořák, this festival season promises a thrilling journey to Vienna, Prague, and other fascinating musical destinations along the way.