10 Of The Greatest Czech Composers You Should Know (2023)

Amazing composers have sprung up in various countries around the globe. The Czech Republic/Czechoslovakia is no exception. These are 10 of the greatest Czech composers of all time.

Table of Contents

1. Antonín Dvořák

10 Of The Greatest Czech Composers You Should Know (1)

Antonín Dvořák was born in Nelahozeves in 1841.

The Romantic Era composer was showing signs of being musically gifted by age 6.

He started as a violinist, but he didn’t start having his own pieces performed until 1872.

Just 2 years later, he began to receive international recognition.

Dvořák entered Austrian composing competitions and excelled, winning in 1874, 1875, and 1876.

Composer Johannes Brahms was on the board along with music critic Eduard Hanslick.

They were both so impressed with Dvořák’s work that they helped to get his music heard outside of Czechoslovakia.

Once achieving international success, Dvořák did some international travel.

He began premiering his pieces in various European countries and even spent a few years living in the US.

Dvořák composed some pretty diverse music including choral pieces, symphonies, chamber music, and operas.

His passion was writing for string instruments which led to him composing quite a few pieces for string quartets and quintets.

Dvořák’s “New World Symphony” is one of the most recognizable pieces of classical music of all time.

Some of his other great works include “String Quartet No. 12,” “Slavonic Dances,” and “Cello Concerto.”

Dvořák’s health began to decline in the early 1900s.

He returned home during this time and was living in Prague.

He died from flu complications in 1904.

2. Bedřich Smetana

10 Of The Greatest Czech Composers You Should Know (2)

Bedřich Smetana was born in Litomyšl in 1824.

Smetana was a composer by nature.

He started premiering his pieces when he was only 6 years old.

The composer was a pioneer of his style and is sometimes called the father of Czech music.

While globally, most consider Dvořák to be the most influential Czech composer, locally, most would argue that Smetana takes that title.

Despite his strong start, Smetana didn’t receive much support in Prague so, in 1856, he decided to travel to Sweden for more opportunities.


He returned to Prague after 3 years to find his wife’s health declining.

His music continued to get mixed reviews throughout the entirety of his career.

He’s best known for “Má Vlast” and his operaThe Bartered Bride.

Even as his health went downhill, Smetana continued composing.

During this time, he received more recognition than at any other point in his career.

In the early 1880s, Smetana had a mental health crisis, diagnosed as senile dementia, from which he never recovered.

In 1884, this led him to be institutionalized.

He died of syphilis a few months later.

3. Leoš Janáček

10 Of The Greatest Czech Composers You Should Know (3)

Leoš Janáček was born in Hukvaldy in 1854.

Like many great composers, Janáček showed musical talent from a young age, starting with choral singing.

Shortly after beginning to study music, he proved to be a very talented pianist as well.

In the early 1870s, he decided to commit to music composition.

Janáček was a huge fan, and later friend, of Dvořák.

A lot of his works were actually inspired by him.

While there was a decent amount of deviation, Janáček primarily wrote choral and piano pieces since those were his own affinities.

However, his operas were some of his most renowned works; starting withJenůfa.

Some of his most popular works includeKáťa Kabanová,The Cunning Vixen,“String Quartet No. 2,” andGlagolitic Mass.

In August 1928, Janáček came down with pneumonia while on vacation.

He never recovered and died within a couple of weeks.

The 74-year-old composer’s final opera,From The House Of The Dead,was found finished at the desk that he died at.

4. Bohuslav Martinů

10 Of The Greatest Czech Composers You Should Know (4)

Bohuslav Martinů was born in Polička in 1890.

He was a sickly and shy child with a strong passion for the violin.

Many musicologists argue that Martinů likely had ASD.

He started performing public concerts by the age of 15 and began releasing his compositions in 1907.

While he was musically trained in romanticism, the Modern Era composer broke away from those roots early and created his own style.

The prolific composer released over 400 pieces including chamber music, concertos, orchestral works, ballets, operas, and more.

Martinů moved around a decent amount in his career having spent time in Prague, France, and the US.

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His most beloved pieces include “Symphony No. 4,” “Violin Concert No. 2,” and “Memorial to Lidice.”

Martinů developed gastric cancer and died in 1959 in Switzerland.

His remains were moved back to his hometown of Polička, Czechoslovakia; where they remain to this day.

5. Julius Fučík

10 Of The Greatest Czech Composers You Should Know (5)

Julius Fučík was born in Prague in 1872.

A student of Dvořák, Fučík was a multi-instrumentalist who played bassoon, violin, and various percussion instruments.

Fučík was known for his marches, waltzes, and polkas.

He is often compared to John Philip Sousa stylistically.

Fučík’s most popular pieces are “Entrance Of The Gladiators” and “The Florentiner March.”

The composer moved around a little but struggled to find success in larger cities away from home.

Fučík’s success was mostly in Prague and Berlin.

Fučík’s health and success both declined at the beginning of World War I.

In 1916, Fučík died at the young age of 44.

The cause of his death isn’t known for certain, but it is widely believed that it was a heart attack that took his life.

6. Jan Dismas Zelenka

Jan Dismas Zelenka was born in Louňovice pod Blaníkem in 1679.

The Baroque Era composer began as a musician who played the now obsolete violone.

His earliest known composition was from 1704, but even that is incomplete so it’s unclear exactly when Zelenka began composing.

Zelenka was known for writing creative harmonies in his pieces.

He composed mostly sacred music; primarily masses, hymns, and litanies.

The composer spent most of his career in Vienna and Dresden.

While many of his works have been lost to the ages, some of the most influential pieces remain.

These include “Sub olea pacis et palma virtutis,” “Missa Votiva,” and “Missa Sanctissimae Trinitatis.”

Late in life, Zelenka became rather close with fellow composers Bach and Telemann.

He died of dropsy near the end of 1745 when he was 66 years old.

He had no next of kin so his estate was bought by the Queen of Poland and Electress of Saxony.

7. Jakub Jan Ryba

10 Of The Greatest Czech Composers You Should Know (6)

Jakub Jan Ryba was born in Přeštice in 1765.

The classical composer was also a teacher to make ends meet, but his true passion was music composition.


Ryba wrote almost exclusively secular works; particularly masses and pastorellas.

His most famous piece is “Czech Christmas Mass,” which is sometimes referred to by the alternative title “Hey Master!”

“Czech Christmas Mass” is still commonly played worldwide but this is the only piece that’s regularly circulated today.

Ryba struggled with his lack of money, success, and support.

The exhaustion of it all got to the composer and he ended up committing suicide in 1815 by slitting his throat with a razor blade.

8. Josef Mysliveček

10 Of The Greatest Czech Composers You Should Know (7)

Josef Mysliveček was born in 1737 in Prague.

The classical composer is known for being a mentor of sorts to Mozart.

For this reason, many of Mozart’s early pieces are compared to those of Mysliveček.

Mysliveček started his career as a miller like the rest of his family since they owned a prosperous mill.

However, he decided to leave the family business to become a classical composer in the early 1760s.

Mysliveček spent most of his career as a composer in Italy, rarely returning home to visit Prague.

Since he came from a wealthy family, he never took on a formal position as most composers do.

The prolific composer created diverse works including opere serie, symphonies, oratorios, chamber music, and concertos.

Some of the composer’s most cherished compositions include “6 String Quintets,”Il Bellerofonte,and “Isacco figura del Redentore.”

Even though he was successful, Mysliveček was known for being financially irresponsible and not very good at fostering relationships.

This led to him dying broke and alone in 1781.

The cause isn’t known but is believed to have been syphilis based on some of his letters to the Mozart family.

9. Vítězslava Kaprálová

10 Of The Greatest Czech Composers You Should Know (8)

Vítězslava Kaprálová was born in Brno in 1915.

She was the daughter of the composer Václav Kaprál and the singer Viktorie Kaprálová so music ran in the family.

She was a conductor in addition to being a composer but, unlike most composers, she was not known to play any instruments herself.

One of the few female composers, Kaprálová composed pieces of all sorts.

Some of her most beloved works include “Military Sinfonietta,” “Dubnová preludia,” “Trio for Oboe, Clarinet, and Bassoon,” and “Waving Farewell.”

She was considered to be a prolific composer during the relatively short time that she was active.

Kaprálová had an unfortunately short life.

She fell ill and was misdiagnosed with miliary tuberculosis.

This led to her passing not long after in 1940 at only 25 years of age, only a couple of months after getting married.

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10. Petr Eben

Petr Eben was born in Žamberk in 1929.

The modern composer started learning piano, cello, and organ in his youth.

His musical journey was halted in 1943 when he was captured by Nazis.

He was imprisoned in Buchenwald until the end of World War II in 1945.

Eben started studying at the Prague Academy for Music upon being released.

Shortly after, Eben began composing; releasing his first piece in 1950.

After his experiences during youth, Eben refused to join a political party in his adulthood.

This limited his opportunities for advancement through much of his career.

However, it didn’t stop him and his music still became famous worldwide.

Eben spent his entire adult life composing pieces of all sorts.

Some of his most recognizable works include both of his organ concertos, “Concerto for Piano and Orchestra,” “Posvátná znamení,” “Apologia Socratus,”Kletby a dobrořečení,”and “Pražské nokturno.”

Petr Eben lived a relatively long life until his passing in 2007.

At 78 years of age, Eben died of a stroke.

Summing up the Best Czech Composers

Few could argue that the Czech Republic has produced many talented composers over the years.

Whether you prefer classical or more modern music, there is no shortage of musical talent coming out of this great country.

We hope you enjoyed reading about each composer and recommend you check out more of their music on spotify or youtube.


Who is the greatest Czech composer? ›

But when it comes to Czech composers, most are familiar only with Antonín Dvořák. Of course, Dvořák's contributions to music are not to be overlooked; his orchestral works are celebrated worldwide, and his use of folk songs in his compositions was extremely influential.

Who are the Czech composers? ›

Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904)

He is one of the Czech composers who are still recognised all over the world. His operas and other pieces are performed on stages from New York to Tokyo. Antonín Dvořák was born in Nelahozeves north of Prague. Today, you can visit the family home where he spent his childhood.

Who is the greatest composer of all time? ›

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827)

The German composer and pianist Ludwig van Beethoven is widely regarded as the greatest composer who ever lived.

Who is the father of Czech music? ›

Bedřich Smetana, (born March 2, 1824, Leitomischl, Bohemia, Austrian Empire [now Litomyšl, Czech Republic]—died May 12, 1884, Prague), Bohemian composer of operas and symphonic poems, founder of the Czech national school of music.

Who are the big 4 composers? ›

A Brief History of Four Great Classical Composers
  • Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) There is no doubt you have heard of Bach many times in your life, and for good reason. ...
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) ...
  • Ludwig Van Beethoven (1770-1827) ...
  • Frederic Chopin (1810-1849)
22 Feb 2016

What is Czech music called? ›

Moravian traditional music or Moravian folk music represents a part of the European musical culture connected with the Moravian region of the Czech Republic.

What are the names of the 2 most famous Czech composers *? ›

5 most famous Czech composers
  • Antonín Dvořák.
  • Bedřich Smetana.
  • Leoš Janáček.
  • Bohuslav Martinů
  • Petr Eben.
25 Sept 2020

What does 3 KK mean in Czech? ›

Taken from bydleni.idnes.cz) You may also come across some flats that have +kk instead of a number. Kk stands for kuchyňský kout = kitchen corner. That means that the kitchen is not a separate room and the whole cooking area is placed in one of the rooms.

What does MUDr mean in Czech? ›

MUDr. Medicinae Universae Doctor - Doctor of Medicine. It corresponds to the title M.D. This title indicates successful completion. of six-year university study in General Medicine.

Who was the first composer? ›

The first named composer, Enheduanna, also wrote sacred songs but for a very different faith in the 23rd century BCE in Ur. She was the daughter of a King and held a very influential place in the religious hierarchy of her land that gave her the authority and time to write and compose music that has mostly been lost.

What music do Czech listen to? ›

Folk style is the center of Czech music. Its classical dance – the polka or the hulan – are very popular, and some Czech singers make this renown a success. The famous Karel Gott is the illustration.

What is a Czech carol? ›

In Czech the Christmas carols are called koledy (koleda in singular).

What music is Prague known for? ›

Undoubtedly, Prague is well known as a leader in the field of classical music. Every day, there are many musical, opera and ballet performances. Popular composers include Mozart, Vivaldi, Bach, Verdi, Dvorak and Smetana.

Who are the 2 famously known Classical musicians? ›

Check This Article: Explore The World Famous Paintings With Hidden Meanings
  • Top Six Famous Classical Music Composers Of All Time.
  • 1) Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
  • 2) Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750)
  • 3) Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–91)
  • 4) Johannes Brahms (1833–97)
  • 5) Claude Debussy (1862–1918)
5 Oct 2022

Who are the 5 new music composers? ›

Composers of experimental New Music in the Philippines include Jose Maceda, Lucrecia Kasilag, Ramon Santos, and Francisco Feliciano. They retained the Filipino spirit by incorporating traditional music forms as well as indigenous rhythms and instruments in their compositions.

Why is Czech so famous? ›

The Czech Republic is famous for: Prague, the historic center of Prague is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Castles, there are several hundreds of castles, chateaus, and mansions in Czechia.

Why is Czech famous for? ›

The Czech Republic is famous for its beer

Czechs consume the most beer per capita in the world. You can go join them for a Pilsner-style larger (their most famous brew) in any old alluring pub – called a hospoda – around town.

Is Czech Russian or German? ›

The Czech language, formerly known as Bohemian, is a Slavic language. It is sometimes mistaken for Russian, Polish and Slovakian. There are many similarities between Czech and Slovakian language since the two countries used to be one country (Czechoslovakia) until their peaceful split in 1993.

What was Czech called before? ›

Czechoslovakia, Czech and Slovak Československo, former country in central Europe encompassing the historical lands of Bohemia, Moravia, and Slovakia.

Who is the best Czech singer? ›

Famous Czech Singers and Composers
  • Ema Destinnová (1878 – 1930) ...
  • Antonín Dvořák (1841 – 1904 Prague) ...
  • Zdeněk Fibich (1850 – 1900) ...
  • Leoš Janáček (1854 – 1928) ...
  • Jaroslav Ježek (1906- 1942) ...
  • Gustav Mahler (1860 to 1911) ...
  • Hans Krása (1899 – 1944) ...
  • Bohuslav Martinů (1890 – 1959)
15 May 2021

What does Tyn mean in Czech? ›

Meaning of the word Tyn

Tyn is a merchants' yard and medieval customs of Prague located behind the church. It was also called Ungelt, which means "tariff" - ein Geld. Tyn or Ungelt was the place where foreign merchants were required to stay and where they had to weigh and tax all of their goods.

What does Dobre mean in Czechoslovakian? ›

The words dobrý/dobré mean “good”. Dobrý is the form of the adjective used in combination with masculine nouns, and dobré is the form we use with neuter nouns. Now we have the most common farewell greeting in Czech: Ahoj! – “

What does Mily mean in Czech? ›

nice {adj.} milý (also: hezký, hodný, pěkný, příjemný) kind {adj.}

What is toilet roll in Czech? ›

toaletní papír {m} paper (also: toilet roll, toilet tissue, bathroom tissue)

What is kava in Czech? ›

coffee {noun} káva (also: kafe)

What is Jojo in Czech? ›

jojo (plural jojos) (colloquial) cool, nice, good. Ce n'est pas jojo, ça! ― That's not good!

Who has the highest Grammy Award? ›

Most Grammys won
1Georg Solti31
2Quincy Jones28
4Alison Krauss27
14 more rows

Who collected Grammy most? ›

Contact The Author. With 31 golden gramophones to his credit, the most decorated musician in Grammy Awards history — the late orchestra conductor Georg Solti — is hardly a household name.

Who has the most Grammy Awards in music? ›

The 2023 GRAMMY nominations are officially here. See the complete list of nominees across all 91 GRAMMY categories.
  • Georg Solti, 31. ...
  • Quincy Jones, 28. ...
  • Beyoncé, 28. ...
  • Alison Krauss, 27. ...
  • Chick Corea, 27. ...
  • Pierre Boulez, 26. ...
  • Vladimir Horowitz, 25. ...
  • Stevie Wonder, 25.

Who made the oldest music? ›

“Hurrian Hymn No. 6” is considered the world's earliest melody, but the oldest musical composition to have survived in its entirety is a first century A.D. Greek tune known as the “Seikilos Epitaph.” The song was found engraved on an ancient marble column used to mark a woman's gravesite in Turkey.

Who founded music? ›

The short answer is that no one knows who invented music. No historical evidence exists to tell us exactly who sang the first song, whistled the first tune, or made the first rhythmic sounds that resembled what we know today as music. But researchers do know it happened thousands of years ago.

Who created all music? ›

AllMusic's logotype and logo since July 2013
Type of siteOnline database for music albums, artists and songs; reviews and biographies
Created byMichael Erlewine
5 more rows

Who is the most underrated composer? ›

Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921) It's hard to imagine that someone who composed the blockbuster Carnival of the Animals, Organ Symphony and Danse Macabre could actually be called 'underrated', but Saint-Saëns' music is so much more important than those few works suggest.

Who is the weirdest composer? ›

Many of us listen to works by the best composers and wonder why we can't be as brilliant.
Yet they were troubled souls, whose eccentricities and obsessions led to some decidedly odd behavior.
  1. 1 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
  2. 2 Arnold Schoenberg. ...
  3. 3 Frantisek Kotzwara. ...
  4. 4 Peter Warlock. ...
  5. 5 Anton Bruckner. ...
27 Dec 2013

What language is Czech most similar to? ›

Slovak is the most closely related language to Czech, followed by Polish and Silesian. The West Slavic languages are spoken in Central Europe. Czech is distinguished from other West Slavic languages by a more-restricted distinction between "hard" and "soft" consonants (see Phonology below).

Is Czech hard to speak? ›

Therefore, among Slavic languages (Czech, Polish, Slovak, and Russian), Czech may be one of the most difficult languages, but most Slavic languages are similar in principle. It is tough to learn Slavic for the first time if you only know a language based on Latin.

Is Z silent in Czech? ›

M is pronounced like [m] in “Morning.” S is pronounced like [s] in “Similar.” V/W is pronounced like [v] in “Victim.” Z is pronounced like [z] in “Zoo.”

Why is Czech called Bohemia? ›

The historical English name of the country is Bohemia. This name derives from the Celtic tribe of Boii, who inhabited the area from the 4th century BC. Boiohaemum, as it was originally known in Latin, comes from the Germanic "Boi-haima", meaning "home of the Boii".

What do Czech cats say? ›

kočka meow-meow

Why is Prague called Bohemia? ›

From 1918 to 1939 and from 1945 to 1992, it was part of Czechoslovakia, and since 1993 it has formed much of the Czech Republic. Bohemia's name comes from a Celtic people known as the Boii, though the Slavic Czechs were firmly established in the region by the 5th or 6th century.

What are 5 facts about Prague? ›

Fun Facts About the City of Prague
  • Prague is by far the biggest city in Czechia. Other large cities are not coming even close. ...
  • 8+ million tourists visit Prague each year. ...
  • The largest club in Central Europe is in Prague. ...
  • The city houses one of the world's oldest and most prestigious universities.
24 Mar 2021

Who is the best singer in Czech Republic? ›

Czech Republic Artists
  • Divokej Bill. 29,513 listeners. Divokej Bill=Wild Bill. ...
  • Master's Hammer. 19,550 listeners. ...
  • Wohnout. 30,490 listeners. ...
  • Daniel Landa. 36,216 listeners. ...
  • Tata Bojs. 22,480 listeners. ...
  • Antonín Dvořák. 879,414 listeners. ...
  • Krabathor. 11,571 listeners. ...
  • Jaromír Nohavica. 46,264 listeners.

Did Mozart ever go to Prague? ›

Considering that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart visited Prague only four times, he left quite an impression on the city. On his first trip, in early 1787, he visited Count Thun and his wife, whom he knew from Vienna. They lived in what is now the British Embassy in Malá Strana.

Who is the No 1 singer in the world? ›

Top 10 Best Singers of All Time
1Michael JacksonPop, Soul, Funk, R&B, Rock, Disco, & Dance
2Stevie WonderSoul, Pop, R&B, Funk, & Jazz
3Marvin GayeSoul, R&B, Funk, Pop, & Jazz
4Freddie MercuryHard Rock, Music Hall, Glitter, & Prog Rock
6 more rows
31 May 2022

Who is the best singer in the world? ›

The greatest singing voices of all time
  • 1 of 31. Barbra Streisand. Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for BSB. ...
  • 2 of 31. Etta James. Charles Paul Harris/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images. ...
  • 3 of 31. Aretha Franklin. ...
  • 4 of 31. Whitney Houston. ...
  • 5 of 31. Mariah Carey. ...
  • 6 of 31. Elton John. ...
  • 7 of 31. Freddie Mercury. ...
  • 8 of 31. Adele.
19 Nov 2022

Who is the most famous singer in the world? ›

Popularity rankingArtist
01DrakeTrack artist
02RihannaTrack artist
03ColdplayTrack artist
04EminemTrack artist
92 more rows

Did Beethoven play in Prague? ›

Perfido! was premiered in Leipzig, November that year. Lead singer was Mozart's friend Josefa Duschek. Beethoven visited Prague the second time two years later, in 1798. He made several private and public concerts, featuring the first two piano concertos and the usual improvisations.

Did Marie Antoinette meet Mozart? ›

Marie Antoinette was an Austrian Princess. She grew up in Austria in a palace. She met the famous composer Mozart when they were both children. She learned to play the piano, the flute and the Harp.

Did Beethoven Meet Mozart in Vienna? ›

In 1787, when Beethoven was 17 years of age he left Bonn on six months' leave of absence from the court orchestra, and arrived in Vienna a month later. Armed with a letter of introduction from Max Franz, whom Mozart knew, he gained entry into Mozart's home and was ushered into the music room to meet his great idol.

Did Beethoven and Mozart ever meet? ›

Beethoven describes Mozart performing

In one form or another, the teenaged Beethoven and 31-year-old Mozart almost certainly crossed paths in 1787, but whether they actually met, possibly, probably even, but no one truly knows.


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