DVOŘÁK AMERICAN HERITAGE ASSOCIATION
MYTHIC BOHEMIA: DVOŘÁK’S VILLA AND LAKE RUSALKA
SPECIAL EXHIBITION IN THE DVOŘÁK ROOM
As part of the Rusalka Celebration in the Bohemian National Hall, this special Dvořák Room presentation explored Antonín Dvořák’s beloved country house at Vysoká and its scenic surroundings in recent photographs by noted Czech photographer Eva Heyd. Finding inspiration in nature, Dvořák composed the opera Rusalka (The Water Nymph) over a period of seven months in 1900, largely in this idyllic setting. When away, he constantly longed for Vysoká, only in the atmosphere of the woods and lakes of mythic Bohemia, nourished by Czech fairy tales and the libretto of poet Jaroslav Kvapil, could Dvořák have created his universally treasured water nymph Rusalka.
Curated by Majda Kallab Whitaker, Dvořák American Heritage Association. Photography by Eva Heyd. With special thanks to Antonín Dvořák III and the Czech Museum of Music, Antonín Dvořák Museum, Prague.
Born in Prague, Eva Heyd began her career as a professional photographer and journalist in what was then Czechoslovakia. In 1985 she emigrated to the United States, where she lived for twenty years, working as a photographer for prestigious museums and galleries in New York. Currently active as a journalist, photographer, and writer, she also teaches, curates art shows, and acts as a coordinator of the Czech National Trust. In her own artwork, she concentrates on art projects experimenting with the use of photographic images. She has exhibited in leading galleries in New York as well as other parts of the United States and Europe.
Majda Kallab Whitaker is an independent scholar and curatorial consultant specializing in subjects related to late nineteenth and early twentieth century cultural and design history. She has acted as advisor for the Dvořák Room project since 2006, and serves on the Board of Directors of the Dvořák American Heritage Association and its parent organization, the Bohemian Benevolent & Literary Association.
Lecture: Tristan Und Rusalka
Many Dvořák admirers joined DAHA and Czech Center New York on Wednesday, February 15th for a lecture by musicologist Michael Beckerman exploring Rusalka’s deeper meanings, presented as part of the month-long celebration of Antonín Dvořák's opera Rusalka in New York. Read more about this month long festival here.
Characterized as a "fairy-tale" opera, Dvořák’s Rusalka is indeed at least in part based on the "Little Mermaid" story. But the opera, both in its use of recurring motives and in its psychological depth aspires to the dramatic power of Wagner's Tristan rather than the picturesque and contained world of Hans Christian Andersen. Using piano, music clips, and score images, Professor Beckerman discussed the themes of longing, wish for death, and search for a kind of ultimate love that pervade the opera and the final scene, which rises to the highest level of tragedy. You can enjoy a replay of this lecture on YouTube.
Celebrating Dvořák and His Circle
On Sunday, October 23rd, Antonín Dvořák’s 175th Anniversary festivities continued with an all-Czech lecture-performance of works by Smetana, Dvořák, Janáček ,and Suk featuring the violin-piano ensemble G-sharp Duo, with Emilie-Anne Gendron on Violin and Yelena Grinberg on piano. Dr. Grinberg and Ms. Gendron discussed each musical piece and the composers, providing an overview of Czech music at the turn of the 20th century. The vibrantly performed program included Smetana’s “From the Homeland,” Two Duets for Violin and Piano (1880); Dvořák’s Sonata in F Major, Opus 57 (1880); Suk’s Four Pieces for Violin and Piano, Opus 17 (1900); and Janáček’s Sonata for Violin and Piano (1914-15, rev. 1916-22).
Founded in 2003, the G-Sharp Duo is a dynamic ensemble established by violinist Emilie-Anne Gendron and pianist Yelena Grinberg when both were students in the Barnard-Columbia-Juilliard (BCJ) dual degree program. Over the past thirteen years of close collaboration, they have garnered enthusiastic praise from New York’s classical music scene for their highly expressive and insightful performances.
Infusing their interpretations with a keen musical intellect and poetic imagination, Ms. Gendron and Ms. Grinberg are committed to showcasing not only the hallmarks of the violin-piano literature, but also some lesser known compositions as well as important contemporary works. Notably, they gave the world premiere of Hiroya Miura's "Moon Petals" (2005), a composition dedicated to the G-Sharp Duo, which was first performed at Miller Theatre and broadcast over New York Public Radio's arts program Ear to Ear, hosted by David Garland. In Spring 2009, the Duo presented the US premiere of Philip Lasser’s “Chaconne Variations” (2007), and in Fall 2010, they gave an unofficial premiere of Michael Harrison’s “Raga Prelude” at Faust Harrison Pianos.
Prizing dual commitment to intellectual and musical exchange, Ms. Gendron and Ms. Grinberg give frequent lecture-recitals, exploring in depth various musical and aesthetic aspects of the sonata-duo repertoire at venues, such as The Juilliard School, Columbia University, and New York University. The G-Sharp Duo won First Prize in the duo category of the 2006 International Chamber Music Ensemble Competition, sponsored by the Chamber Music Foundation of New England. In Summer 2008, they were awarded residency at the renowned Banff Centre in Canada, where they worked closely with such artists as Philip Setzer, Mark Steinberg, Barry Shiffman, and Denis Brott.
Since their New York debut recital at Merkin Hall in Spring 2008, the G-Sharp Duo has given numerous performances at venues such as Miller Theatre, Bargemusic, Steinway Hall, Weill Recital Hall, the Bates College Concert Series, the Harvard Club of New York, the chamber music series at St. Paul Church in Brookline, Massachusetts, Tenri Cultural Institute of New York, Nicholas Roerich Museum in New York, and the Grinberg Classical Salon Series.
Dvořák: The Chamber Music Survey
Marking the 175th Anniversaries of both Antonín Dvořák and the New York Philharmonic, DAHA launched a multi-year concert series presenting all of Dvořák’s chamber works on Sunday, September 18th. Featuring NY Philharmonic musicians and friends, the first concert included a Dvořák masterpiece: Quintet in E flat Op. 97, the “American,” as well as two rarely heard works: the Four Romantic Pieces for Violin and Piano Op. 75 (Violin and Harp transcription premiere) and its original version, the Trio in Four Movements for Two Violins and Viola Op. 75a B 149. The Chamber Music Survey is organized by violinist Laura Jean Goldberg. The concert was followed by a reception and viewing of the Dvořák Room exhibit “Superstars Together: Dvořák and the New York Philharmonic at 175,” curated by Majda Kallab Whitaker.
This event is now streaming on our YouTube Channel!
Top Left: "American" Quintet musicians (left to right): Yulia Ziskel, violin; Laura Jean Goldberg, violin; Dmitri Kouzov, cello; Ah Ling, viola; and Rebecca Young, viola. Celebrating Antonín Dvořák's 175th Birthday with a special cake. Dvořák and friends (left to right): Yulia Ziskel, Rebecca Young, and Dmitri Kouzo. Taking their bows: violinist Yulia Ziskel and harpist June Han. Photo Credit: Nancy Wight. Violinist and Concert Organizer Laura Jean Goldberg (right), DAHA President Susan Lucak (center) & Majda Kallab Whitaker, Exhibit Organizer (left) at the Dvořák House mantelpiece in the Dvořák room. Photo Credit: Judith Prowda.
DVOŘÁK ROOM VISITORS FROM CARNEGIE HALL
The Dvořák Room at the Bohemian National Hall was one of venues visited by the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America (NYO-USA), for an introduction to Dvořák’s life in America by DAHA Board Member Majda Kallab Whitaker. Each summer, Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute brings together some of the finest young musicians from across the country (ages 16–19) to form the NYO-USA. These remarkable teenagers then embark on a tour to some of the great music capitals of the world, serving as dynamic American music ambassadors. This year they performed Mozart and Bruckner works at Carnegie Hall on July 14th under the baton of Christoph Eschenbach with featured pianist Emanuel Ax; Valery Gergiev led the European tour of Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Montpelier, and Prague with pianist Denis Matsuev in a program dedicated to music by Debussy, Rachmaninoff, and Prokofiev. Photos courtesy of the Consulate General of the Czech Republic in New York.
"FIRST OF MAY" SPRING MUSICALE
The tradition of Sunday afternoon musicales in the late nineteenth century continued as the spirited ArtsAhimsa ensemble returned on May 1, 2016 for its sixth season with chamber works from the repertoire of Antonín Dvořák and related musical sources. This year’s Spring Musicale featured outstanding seasoned musicians in performances of Dvořák’s celebrated Quintet for Piano and Strings, Opus 81 in A major, Dvořák’s Sonatine for Violin and Piano, Opus 100, and the rarely heard Trio in D minor by Czech composer Bohuslav Martinu.
See this event on DAHA's YouTube Channel!
DVOŘÁK'S CZECH DAY CONCERT AT THE CHICAGO WORLD'S FAIR OF 1893
On the evening of Saturday, March 19, 2016, the Aaron Copland School of Music Orchestra under the direction of Maurice Peress presented a rousing concert “recreating” the Czech Day program of August 12, 1893 at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Audience members could well imagine the fairgoers’ excitement they heard Dvořák’s popular Slavonic Dances and My Home Overture as well as his Symphony No. 6 in D major. Maestro Peress, who recently celebrated his 85th birthday, was greeted with an orchestral Happy Birthday and received an honorary award from the Dvořák American Heritage Association at the close of the performance.
See this event on DAHA's YouTube Channel!
THE NEW WORLD SYMPHONY: Dvořák in America
On January 30th and 31st, performances of the Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theatre in the historic ballroom of the Bohemian National Hall explored the influence of African American and Native American music upon the work of famed Czech composer Antonín Dvořák during his American sojourn of 1892-1895, telling the story with classical and jazz music accompaniment, live actors, and marionettes under the direction of Vit Hořejš. Music by composer/saxophonist James Brandon Lewis and Antonín Dvořák.
Click here to view more photos from the event!
DAY OF CZECH HOLIDAY FESTIVITIES
On Sunday, December 13, 2015 guests joined in a festive celebration of the season at the Bohemian National Hall with an exciting variety of holiday presentations and gift market sponsored by the Bohemian Benevolent & Literary Association; Consulate General of the Czech Republic; Czech Center New York; and Dvořák American Heritage Association.
DAHA’s Holiday Concert: From Czech Baroque Pastorale to Modern Improvisation featured musicians from New York University in familiar miniatures and rare novelties for piano, guitar, and voice, tracing the Czech pastorale tradition from the Baroque through the Romantic period, and ending in the mid-20th century. The event was curated by Jack Meadow and Michael Beckerman, who performed along with tenor Christopher Patton Nickell.
Another highlight was the Czech Christmas Festival in the historic Ballroom of the Bohemian National Hall, featuring mezzo-soprano Pavlina Horáková and the Children’s Choir of the Czech and Slovak Community Center in Astoria. Christmas carol favorites and family-friendly interactive presentations illuminated Czech holiday traditions. The unusually balmy weather allowed the Christmas market, with traditional Czech glass ornaments, foods, and decorations, to take place on the rooftop terrace. A raffle of Dvořák String Quartet CDs also took place courtesy of Manhattan Quartet and DAHA.
WORD AND MUSIC IN THE WORKS OF DVOŘÁK: A NEGLECTED TREASURE TROVE
On October 18th, the Dvořák American Heritage Society presented its inaugural DAHA Annual Lecture/Recital Program featuring Dvořák scholar David Beveridge and a vocal music performance by mezzo-soprano Mirjam Frank. Dr. Beveridge chose as his topic one of his most striking discoveries during decades of research in all aspects of Dvořák's life and work, namely the amazing quantity and stunning beauty of the Czech composer’s vocal music--operas, choral works, duets, and songs--and the peculiar circumstances that have caused music historians to underrate most of this music and performers to neglect it.
During his talk Dr. Beveridge played short recorded examples from several of Dvořák's splendid vocal works that many in the audience had probably never heard before, and focused more closely on his skillful setting of words in two works associated with New York--The American Flag, a cantata to an English text composed for and premiered in New York, and the Biblical Songs, composed in 1894, during his tenure as director of New York's National Conservatory. The Biblical Songs were performed live in their entirety by mezzo-soprano Mirjam Frank, with Dr. Beveridge's own translation (in its 'premiere') of the sung text attempting to capture in English the perfect union of word and music Dvořák achieved in Czech. Ms. Frank also sang a recitative and aria from the oratorio Saint Ludmila (1885-86).
DAHA’S 25TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION
On April 26th, the Dvořák American Heritage Association celebrated its 25th anniversary with special guests Laurie Beckelman (Historic Preservation Expert & Former Chair of NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission), Carol Greitzer (Preservation Advocate & Former NYC Council Member), Anthony Wood (Founder and Chair of New York Preservation Archive Project); Professor Michael Beckerman, Conductor Maurice Peress, Design Historian Majda Kallab Whitaker, Preservationist Jack Taylor, and DAHA's President Susan Lucak. The group of distinguished panelists explored DAHA’s early history, focusing on the efforts to save Dvořák House - the New York rowhouse where Antonín Dvořák lived and composed during his American residency from 1892-1895 - as a cultural landmark. While Dvořák House was eventually demolished, DAHA went on to co-name a section of East 17th Street “Dvořák Place.” install the Dvořák Statue in Stuyvesant Square Park, and create a new sense of place in the Dvořák Room at the Bohemian National Hall, as well as implementing creative musical and lecture programs to increase awareness and understanding of Dvořák’s American legacy and Czech musical culture. (See Highlights of DAHA History 1990 – 2015)
Founding DAHA member Jack Taylor was honored and guests previewed DAHA’s Anniversary Exhibition presenting highlights from the archive of Mr. Taylor and other historic documents in the Dvořák Room, organized by Majda Kallab Whitaker. ArtsAhimsa Ensemble musicians Laura Goldberg and Moshe Knoll performed Dvořák’s popular Humoresque No. 7, composed during Dvořák’s American residency.
See this event on DAHA’s YouTube Channel!
DAHA Board Members and guests. Photo Credit: Katerina Kyselica, courtesy of DAHA
DAHA SPRING MUSICALE
On March 29th, DAHA hosted an afternoon of instrumental and vocal Czech chamber music. The event featured seasoned musicians and young students, evoking a tradition of late 19th century musical life, from the period when Antonín Dvořák headed the National Conservatory of Music of America in New York City. The mostly Dvořák program included The Dumky Trio; V Národním Tonu (In Folk Tone); Slavonic Dances; Piano Trio in B flat; String Quintet in E flat Major; and “The Man I Love” by Dvořák’s “grand-student” George Gershwin.
DVOŘÁK LEGACY CONCERT
On February 27th, 2015, the Aaron Copland School of Music Orchestra, under the direction of Maurice Peress, performed works by Antonín Dvořák and George Gershwin, exploring the Czech composer and his American legacy. The program combined Dvořák’s Carnival Overture and his American masterwork, the Symphony No. 9 in E minor, “From the New World,” with his “grand-student” George Gershwin’s American in Paris. Maestro Peress is both a conductor and scholar -- his book Dvořák to Duke Ellington (Oxford University Press, 2004) is still in print--and he brings American insights into his “New World” performance.
See DAHA’s YouTube channel
CZECH HOLIDAY PARTY ATTRACTS LARGE AUDIENCE
On Sunday, December 14th, the Czech Holiday Party attracted over 200 families and friends to the historic ballroom of the Bohemian National Hall for an exciting program including a music performance, holiday market, light refreshments, and film screening. The music performance, hosted by Czech mezzo-soprano Pavlina Horáková, was enlivened with slide projections and descriptions of Christmas traditions in the Czech Republic and United States, and a special appearance by the Children’s Choir of the Czech & Slovak Cultural Center in Astoria. View photos of the event here!
DVOŘÁK, DAHA, AND THE NEW YORK PHILHARMONIC:
Czech composer Antonín Dvořák continued to be celebrated in 2014 with the New York Philharmonic’s unprecedented Dvořák Festival, from December 4th – December 13th. Click here for details of the past program.
DAHA's Michael Beckerman was featured in a December 4th New York Times article! He participated in the program “Insights Immersion: The Many Worlds of Antonín Dvořák” offered as part of the New York Philharmonic’s Dvořák Festival on Sunday, December 7th at the 92nd Street Y in New York City.
See DAHA in the News for more details!
THE ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT OF THE "NEW WORLD" SYMPHONY RETURNED TO NEW YORK
November 17th – 21st, 2014
The original manuscript of the "New World" Symphony returned for the first time to New York City, where it was composed by Antonín Dvořák in 1893. On loan from the Czech National Museum, the manuscript was reunited with original orchestral parts from the New York Philharmonic, created for the world premiere at Carnegie Hall in 1893. The public was invited to view the exhibit in the Czech Center Gallery at the Bohemian National Hall from Monday, November 17th -Friday, November 21st daily from 1pm - 9pm. The Dvorak American Heritage Association offered three related lecture programs and the Dvořák Room was open during exhibition hours.
Dvořák to Duke Ellington. On Tuesday, November 18th at 6 PM Maestro Maurice Peress traced the influence of Dvořák and the "New World" Symphony through his American students and "grand-students," including Ellington, Gershwin and Copland.
This event can now be viewed on our YouTube channel!
Dvořák’s New York. On Wednesday, November 19th at 6 PM New York Philharmonic archivist and historian Barbara Haws and cultural historian Majda Kallab Whitaker presented highlights of Dvořák’s New York residency, including the premiere of the "New World" Symphony in 1893. In addition, the ArtsAhimsa String Quartet performed the final movement from Dvořák’s "American" String Quartet.
This event can now be viewed on our YouTube channel!
The "New World" Symphony: From Happy Birthday to the Song of the Robin. On Thursday, November 20th at 6 PM Dvořák scholar Michael Beckerman explored the musical “back stories” of the "New World" Symphony.
This event can now be viewed on our YouTube channel!
Sponsors: Bohemian Benevolent & Literary Association, Consulate General of the Czech Republic, Czech Center New York, Czech Ministry of Culture, Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Czech National Museum, Czech Permanent Mission to the United Nations, Czech Philharmonic, Dvořák American Heritage Association, New York Philharmonic Archives
This event can now be viewed on our YouTube channel!
On October 26th, DAHA presented a program of lectures and performances around the theme of musical melodrama (the combination of speech and music) and Dvořák’s near obsession with Longfellow’s Hiawatha.
The event featured Dvořák scholar Michael Beckerman as moderator and actor; cultural historian Joseph Horowitz; David Samuels, a scholar of Native American music and colonial contact; flutist Kaori Fujii; and pianist Jason Wirth.
This also served as an unofficial launch for the Naxos recording of the Hiawatha Melodrama created by Horowitz and Beckerman on a CD titled “Dvořák and America.”
DVOŘÁK’S CELLO CONCERTO: MANUSCRIPT DISCOVERY EXHIBITION, DISCUSSION, AND PERFORMANCE
On April 5, 2014, the Dvořák American Heritage Association and the Violoncello Society, Inc. joined in presenting an original manuscript, the recently discovered solo cello part of Antonín Dvořák’s American masterwork, the “Cello Concerto in B minor,” with an exhibition, interactive performance, and panel discussion by Dvořák experts. This event offered a window into the world of Dvořák’s creative process and collaboration with his German-American colleague, cellist Alwin Schroeder, in whose personal archive the manuscript was found.
Students from The Juilliard School (James Kim), The Manhattan School of Music (Patrick Hopkins), and Mannes College (Yoon Jin Park) were invited to play the three movements of the concerto. The expert panelists, who were led by Co-Chairs Professor Michael Beckerman of New York University (Vice-President of DAHA) and Professor Jeffrey Solow of Temple University (President of the Violoncello Society), included Conductor and Professor Maurice Peress, Cellist Christine Walevska, and Cellist Robert A. Williams, Jr., the manuscript owner. Historical recordings were presented via audio clips courtesy of Cellist Terry King, and Dvořák’s song "Leave Me Alone," at the heart of the cello piece, was sung by Amelia Lubrano, a graduate of the Aaron Copland School of Music, accompanied by Jeremy Chan on piano. Pianist Doris Stevenson accompanied the three cellists in their performances of the Cello Concerto.
The Dvořák Cello Concerto manuscript will remain on exhibit (in facsimile) in the Dvořák Room through March 2015, and may be viewed during regularly scheduled events or by appointment. Contact; email@example.com.
OTHER PAST EVENTS:
"New World Diplomacy: The Contract That Brought Antonín Dvořák To America."
On Sunday, September 8, 2013, the original historic contract that brought Dvořák to America in September 1892 was publicly presented in the Dvořák Room for the first time, on Antonín Dvořák’s 172nd birthday. The intriguing history of the negotiations between Dvořák and Jeannette Thurber, founder of the National Conservatory of Music of America in New York City, was discussed by exhibition curator Majda Kallab Whitaker, followed by a performance of Dvořák’s chamber works and a birthday reception.
Walking Tour of the Stuyvesant Square District:
On Sunday, October 27, 2013, DAHA sponsored a walking tour of the Stuyvesant Square district where Dvořák lived and worked from 1892 to 1895. Participants visited the former sites of Dvořák House and the National Conservatory of Music of America, as well as the commemorative Dvořák Statue in Stuyvesant Square Park.