Burian, Emil František

Burian, Emil František


Born June 11, 1904, in Pilsen; died Aug. 9, 1959, in Prague. Czech director, composer, writer, and playwright.

Burian began his career in 1923 as a composer. In 1926 he began working as an actor in a variety of theaters. In 1927 he completed a studio course in composition at the Prague Conservatory. He is the composer of Before Sunrise, an opera based on a work by Hauptmann (1924); Mary sa, an opera based on a work by the Mrstík brothers (1938); the ballet Bassoon and Flute (1925); and symphonies, instrumental chamber music, and scores for plays and movies. He began his career as a director in dramatic theater in 1929. In 1933 he founded the D-34 Theater in Prague with the intention of presenting sharply political and highly topical works. Burian was especially noted for using a variety of genres, for combining words, music, and flowing movement, and for attempting to find new means of expression. His productions include Gorky’s Egor Bulychov and Others (1934) and Pogodin’s The Aristocrats (1935). Burian was also the author and director of two plays based on folklore, War (1935) and Folk Suite (1938). During the fascist occupation he was imprisoned in a concentration camp (1941-45). After the country was liberated, the plays Burian directed at the D-34 included Gorky’s Lower Depths (1951), Mayakovsky’s The Bedbug (1956), Schweik (based on Hasek’s novel), and Brecht’s Threepenny Opera.


O nové divadlo: 1930-1940. Prague, 1946.


Bachelis, T. “Teatr E. Buriana.” Teatr, no. 8, 1958.
Koóová, Z. Kronika Armàdniho umèleckého divadla. Prague, 1955. Divadlo, no. 7, 1959.