Bartok, Bela

1881 -1945

Pianist and composer from Hungary who combined Hungarian folk music with traditional music.

Bartok was something of a prodigy, and began composing at the age of ten. His early work was influenced greatly by Strauss and Liszt , but his first major work, the symphonic Kossuth (1903), also stands out for its telling of a nationalist story.

During World War II forced Bartok to flee Hungary and settle in the United States.

Although Bartok wrote in all mediums, he may well be best remembered for his six string quartets. These works, a summation of his compositional style and development are often viewed as the logical successors to those of Beethoven.


Dvorak, Antonin

1841 - 1904

Bohemian composer and viola player who incorporated folk melodies into 19th century Romantic music. Along with Smetana, Dvorak was a founder of the Czech nationalist school

He studied in Prague. Dvorak lived for three years in New York. During this time he composed some of his best-known works, including two quartets, a cello concerto and his Symphony No.9 "From the New World".

Dvorak returned to his native Prague in 1895. In 1901 he premiered his most important opera, Rusalka.