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Josef Suk

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Křečovice, Czechia (1874 – 1935)

Czech composer and violinist Josef Suk (January 4, 1874 - May 29, 1935) was born in Křečovice, Czechia. He studied at Prague Conservatory from 1885 to 1892, where he was a pupil of Antonín Dvořák (he married Dvořák’s daughter in 1898). He formed the Czech Quartet with three of his fellow students — Suk played second violin with them for most of his life. From 1922 he taught at the Prague Conservatory where his pupils included Bohuslav Martinů and Rudolf Firkušný. He died in Benešov.

Suk’s early works show the influence of Dvořák and Johannes Brahms, while later pieces use more extended harmonies to create a more personal and complex style. Unlike many of his countrymen, he made little use of Czech folk music. His best known works are probably the youthful Serenade for Strings (1892) and the symphony, Asrael (1906), a work written in response to the deaths of his wife and Dvořák. Other pieces include the Fairy Tale Suite (1900), the cycle of piano works Things Lived and Dreamed (1909), and the trilogy of symphonic poems A Summer’s Tale (1909), The Ripening (1917) and Epilog (1929, for chorus and orchestra).

He won a silver medal at the Art Competititions during the Olympic Games of 1932 at Los Angeles with his work Into a New Life.

Suk was the grandfather of the violinist Josef Suk.

Chronological list of compositions:

1888 String Quartet (0) d: Barcarolle Bb & Andante con moto survive
1889 op2 rev1890-91 Piano Trio c

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