Leos Janacek

Janáček, Leoš


(also Leo Eugen Janáček). Born July 3, 1854, in Hukvaldy, Moravia; died Aug. 12, 1928, in Ostrava. Czech composer, folklorist, choirmaster, conductor, teacher, and music critic.

Janáček studied under P. Křižkovský in Brno from 1865 to 1872 and under F. Z. Skuherský at the Organ School in Prague in 1875; in 1879 and 1880 he studied at the Leipzig and Vienna conservatories. In 1881 he founded the Organ School in Brno (since 1919 a branch of the Prague Conservatory) and became its head. From 1881 to 1888 he was conductor of the orchestra of the Czech Philharmonic Society and edited the music newspaper Hudební listy (Musical Pages).

Beginning in the 1890’s, Janáček collected and adapted Moravian folk music, publishing some 2,500 folk songs. In 1889 he wrote the now classic article “The Musical Aspect of Moravian Folk Songs.” The founder of the 20th-century national school of composers, Janáček drew on previously unknown ancient Moravian folk music, although his mature works did not make use of particular folk melodies. In highly original fashion he musically rendered specific Bohemian and Moravian speech inflections, which he notated as “spoken songs.” He achieved a synthesis of the harmony, rhythm, and color of folk music art with a modern musical idiom, thereby creating a unique individual musical style that drew on the achievements of 20th-century musical art and is distinguished by its strikingly national originality.

Janáček, reacting against the influence of German late romanticism on Czech music, turned to Russian realistic musical art, Franco-Italian verismo, and French music of the turn of the 20th century. He initiated Czech composers’ interest in Russian literature as a source for operas and programmatic works. He headed the Russian Circle in Brno from 1896 to 1915 and visited Russia in 1896 and 1902. His Piano Trio (1909) and String Quartet (1923) were inspired by The Kreutzer Sonata of L. N. Tolstoy, whom he called a “teacher of life,” and sketches for the operas Anna Karenina and The Living Corpse have been preserved. Also based on plots from Russian literature were the symphonic rhapsody Taras Bulba (1918, after N. V. Gogol), the opera Katia Kabanova (1921, based on A. N. Ostrovskii’s The Thunderstorm), and the opera From the House of the Dead (1928; staged 1930, Brno; after F. M. Dostoevsky).

Notable among Janáček’s nine operas are Her Foster Daughter (Jenůfa; 1904, Brno), the productions of which in Prague in 1916 and Vienna in 1918 earned the composer worldwide recognition, and The Cunning Little Vixen (1924, Brno). Other works include the oratorio Glagolitic Mass (1926), the Sinfonietta (1926), works for chamber orchestra with various instruments, choral works, songs and song cycles, and piano sonatas.

After the independent Czechoslovak Republic was created, Janáček gained widespread recognition. He was chairman of the Moravian Composers’ Club (1919) and represented Czech musical art at international music festivals in Salzburg (1923), Venice (1925), and Frankfurt am Main (1927). An opera theater and the Academy of Fine Arts (1947) in Brno were named in his honor. Festivals devoted to Janáček’s works were held in Brno in 1948, 1958, 1965, and 1978.


Asaf’ev, B. lanachek, Novak, Ferster, Suk: Izbr. trudy, vol. 4. Moscow, 1955.
Nest’ev, I. ’Eepadcheritsa’ L. lanachka. Moscow, 1960.
Poliakova, L. Opernoe tvorchestvo Leosha lanachka. Moscow, 1968.
Poliakova, L. Cheshskaia i slovatskaia opera XX v., book 1. Moscow, 1978. Pages 73–273.
Vogel, J. Leoš Janášek. Prague, 1958.
Štědroň, B. Leoš Janáček. Prague, 1976.


References in periodicals archive ?
During the summer, new productions of operas by Leos Janacek, Bedrich Smetana and Bohuslav Martinn were presented abroad.
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The concert will feature Russian bard songs by Bulat Okudzhava and Sergey Nikitin, along with classical works by Ernest Bloch, Vytautas Barkauskas, Leos Janacek, Johann Sebastian Bach, Witold Lutoslowski, Pyotr Illich Tchaikovsky and Manuel de Falla.
On 13 and 14 May 2014, the music librarians had a meeting in Brno, where the Jin Mahen Library held a seminar on the theme Leos Janacek.
in 1924, he first saw Jenufa, an opera by the then little-known Moravian composer, Leos Janacek.
PAVAO QUARTET The Artrix, Bromsgrove THE infatuation the ageing Leos Janacek felt for Kamila Stosslova, a married woman 38 years his junior, is to be welcomed for the many works he produced as a result of his obsession.
After making a wide, sweeping turn and lining up for its final approach, the legendary aircraft touched down at Leos Janacek Airport in Ostrava, Czech Republic, to loud cheers.
With music by Czech composer Leos Janacek, it is sung in English and casts English tenor John Graham-Hall as the sausage-loving Broucek.
Say played pieces by Franz Liszt, Leos Janacek and Sergei Prokofiev for an audience of around eight hundred people.
00 Kempton An opera in three acts, with music by Czech composer Leos Janacek to a libretto by Vincenc Cervinka, based on The Storm, a play by Aleksandr Ostrovsky.
I went to see Jenufa - an opera by the Czech composer Leos Janacek at the Wales Millennium Centre.
Doss is returning to Milan's legendary Teatro alla Scala (La Scala) to star in The Makropulos Case, the three-act opera by Czech master Leos Janacek, running from January 16 to February 3, 2009.