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Bohuslav Martinů

Bohuslav Martinů

Pays d'origine: République tchèque
Date d'anniversaire: 8 décembre 1890
Date de décès: 28 août 1959

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Orchestre: NeoKlasik orchestr
25 avril 2024 | Praha (République tchèque) , Galerie Kooperativy
Orchestre: NeoKlasik orchestr
27 avril 2024 | Praha (République tchèque) , Galerie Kooperativy

À propos de Bohuslav Martinů

Bohuslav Martinů was born in Polička near the Bohemian-Moravian border on 8 December 1890. His musical talent was recognized and nurtured early. At the age of seven, he took his first violin lessons and only a little later started his first composition attempts.

At the age of fifteen, Martinů gave his first concert in his home town. When he entered the Prague Conservatoire in 1906, he had already written numerous chamber music works, which, unfortunately, are missing. In Prague, Martinů studied violin and organ, but was expelled from the conservatoire for ’incorrigible inattentiveness’ in 1910. In 1912 he did his violin teacher’s diploma and one year later joined the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra.

During this time he devoted much of his time to composition; by the end of World War I he had produced about 120 works of different genres. It was particularly the music of French impressionism that strongly influenced Martinů’s compositional œuvre, but Czech folk music always remained a major source of inspiration to him as well.

In 1923 Martinů went to Paris where he took composition lessons with Albert Roussel. During his two years’ studies with Roussel, Martinů developed his own individual style. Among Martinů’s first full-scale works are Half-Time for orchestra, String Quartet No. 2 and the orchestral work La Bagarre. The outstanding features of these compositions which gradually made him well-known on an international level as well, are in particular polytonal harmonies, a polyphonic style of composition and rhythmic vitality.

From the late 1920s, Martinů’s works were becoming more and more influenced by jazz music, as can be seen in compositions such as the Sextet for piano and wind instruments, Jazz Suite, the pasticcio La Revue de Cuisine, or the ballet Echec au roi. The most experimental compositions by Martinů, containing strong dissonances and avoiding tonal references, were created in 1929 (Fantaisie for two pianos, String Quartet No. 3). This phase passed quickly, however, for in the early 1930s Martinů entered a neo-classical period, which was accompanied by his rediscovery of traditional formal principles (Cello Concerto No. 1, Serenade for chamber orchestra).

When the German army occupied France in 1940, Martinů saw himself forced to emigrate to the United States. There, in 1941, he wrote his Symphony No. 1 upon commission from Koussevitzky and, until 1946, five other symphonies as well as numerous concertos and chamber music works. He lived at different places in the USA, but his heart remained in Czechoslovakia, as the composition of numerous songs based on Czech texts shows. After the war Martinů was invited to become professor at the Prague Conservatoire, but the reformation of the government, at Stalin’s behest, under a communist regime made his return impossible. It was not before 1953 that he returned to Europe. For two years he lived in Nice where he wrote two of his most important works (the oratorio Gilgamesh and the dramatic score Greek passion), then in Rome and finally in Switzerland. He died in Liestal near Basel on 28 August 1959.

Liste d'œuvres


Born in Polička (Czechoslovakia) on 8 December
Begins violin lessons
First composition: string quartet "Tři jezdci" ("The Three Riders")
Studies violin, later organ and composition at the Prague Conservatoire
Martinů is suspended from conservatoire due to “incorrigible inattentiveness”
Awarded the Teaching Diploma for violin on his second attempt
Violinist with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Prague
Moves back to Polička again. From 1916 teaches violin at the local music school
First major success as composer: World première of his cantata “Česká Rapsódie” in Prague with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra
Studies composition with Josef Suk in Prague
Moves to Paris. Studies composition with Albert Roussel
Works as independent composer in Paris. Influenced by Stravinsky and later by Jazz music
World première of symphonic Rondo “Half-Time” in Prague. The piece marks a stylistic change in Martinů’s œuvre
International attention after the world première of the string quartet no. 2 in Berlin
World première of “La Bagarre” in Boston with conductor Serge Koussevitzky. Koussevitzky becomes one of the most important supporters of Martinů’s music
World premières of the ballet “Vzpoura” (“The Revolt”) and his first opera “Voják a tanečnice” (“The Soldier and the Dancer”) in Brno
Marries Charlotte Quennehen. Martinů is appointed member of the Czech Academy of Sciences and Arts
Composition Award from the Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge Foundation Washington for the string sextet (world première 1933 in Washington)
Smetana Prize for the ballet “Špalíček” (world première 1933 in Prague)
Election to the Parisian Societé Triton, an association for contemporary music
Composition Award from the State of Czechoslovakia for “Hry o Marii” (“The Miracle of Our Lady”)
Premiere broadcast of the radio opera ‘Veselohra na mostě‘ (‘Comedy on the Bridge’)
World première of “Kytice”, a radio cantata, in Prague
World première of the opera “Julietta” in Prague. Martinů’s last stay in Czechoslovakia
Composes ‘Polní mše‘ (‘Field Mass’) ‘for the Czechoslovakian volunteers fighting at the French front’ (world premiere in Prague in 1946)
Flees Paris for the USA, leaving his manuscripts behind
Arrives in New York. Highly acclaimed world première of “Concerto grosso” (Boston Symphony Orchestra, Koussevitzky). Completes 5 symphonies, concertos and 20 chamber music works during the next five years
Teaches composition summer courses at the Berkshire Music Center
Martinů refuses the position of Chair of Composition at Prague National Conservatoire for political reasons. The consequences of a fall affect his health (especially his hearing and nervous system)
First visit to Europe following the war. Spends time in Switzerland and France on holiday. Returns to New York in autumn. Is appointed Chair of composition at Princeton University for the next three years
World première of the Sinfonietta “La Jolla” in La Jolla, California and the Sinfonia concertante no. 2 in Basel (Basel Chamber Orchestra, Paul Sacher)
One-act radio opera “Veselohra na mostě” (“Comedy on the Bridge”) from 1935 is chosen as the Best New Opera of the Year by the Music Critics Circle of New York City
Gains American citizenship
Receives a one-year scholarship from the Guggenheim Foundation. Moves to Nizza for two years
Returns to the USA. World première of “Fantaisies symphoniques” in Boston; The work is awarded a prize by the Music Critics Circle in New York City.
Martinů is appointed member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters
Holds a chair at Curtis Institute Philadelphia and Mannes School of Music New York
May: Leaves USA for the last time
Composer in Residence at the American Academy in Rome from October
World première of the oratorio “The Epic of Gilgamesh” in Basel with conductor Paul Sacher
Accepts Sacher’s invitation to live in his farm house in Schönenberg (Switzerland)
Martinů dies in Liestal near Basel on 28 August



Par ordre décroissant
  • Nonet
    Orchestre: NeoKlasik orchestr
    25 avril 2024 | Praha (République tchèque) , Galerie Kooperativy
  • Nonet
    Orchestre: NeoKlasik orchestr
    27 avril 2024 | Praha (République tchèque) , Galerie Kooperativy
  • Partita
    Chef d'orchestre: Nikolay Lalov
    Orchestre: Orquestra de Camara Cascais e Oeiras
    4 mai 2024 | Oeiras (Portugal) , Auditorio Rui de Carvalho
  • Partita
    Chef d'orchestre: Nikolay Lalov
    Orchestre: Orquestra de Camara Cascais e Oeiras
    11 mai 2024 | Cascais (Portugal) , Auditorio Senhora da Boa Nova
  • Quatuor à cordes avec orchestre
    Chef d'orchestre: Jakub Klecker
    Orchestre: Symfonický orchestr Českého rozhlasu (Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra)
    15 mai 2024 | Praha (République tchèque) , Rudolfinum, Dvořákova síň
  • Jazz Suite
    Chef d'orchestre: John Warner
    Orchestre: Orquestra de la Comunitat Valenciana
    19 mai 2024 | Valencia (Espagne) , Palau de las Arts Reina Sofia
  • Concerto
    Chef d'orchestre: Ville Matvejeff
    Orchestre: Norrlandsoperans Symfoniorkester
    23 mai 2024 | Umeå (Suède) , Norrlandsoperan
  • Concerto
    Chef d'orchestre: Samuel Aguirre
    Orchestre: Sinfonieorchester Basel
    5 juin 2024 | Basel (Suisse) , Stadtcasino
  • Trio
    27 octobre 2024 | London (Royaume-Uni de Grande-Bretagne et Irlande du Nord) , Wigmore Hall
  • Trio
    15 décembre 2024 | München (Allemagne) , Münchner Künstlerhaus, Festsaal
  • Par ordre décroissant