Leoš Janáček Composer
Season 23/24 ArtistSeason 24/25 Artist


Born July 3, 1854, Hukvaldy, Moravia, Leoš Janaček first studied music at the Brno monastery and then organ in Prague and at the Leipzig Conservatory. In 1874, he met in Prague Antonin Dvořak, who would greatly influence his compositions and for whom he developed a deep friendship. In 1881 he founded a college of organists at Brno, which then became a conservatory, then a permanent orchestra. He composed his first opera, Šarka, in 1887. Named secretary of the Folkloric Studies Department in Prague, he collected and revised many popular songs and composed works in the tradition of the genre. Most of his inspiration came from the Moravian folk culture, the dialects and customs of his native country and the sounds of nature. But he was also a remarkable playwright and theatre director.

Other sources came from the Slavic culture: Dostoïevski, Gogol, Ostrovski and Tolstoï inspired him to write From the House of the Dead, the orchestral rhapsody Taras Bulba, the opera Katya Kabanova and the quartet Kreutzer Sonata. His entire work is characterised by a powerful dramatic charge: Jenůfa and Katia’s portraits are, for instance, marked by a great and subtle psychology. Though he never gave birth to an aesthetical school, he nonetheless remained a lifelong champion for a Czech culture connected to the realities of his time.

His dedication to local musical life, only matched by his determination to compose exclusively in Czech with the passion of a linguist, slowed down his career, and he was long considered as a regional musician. During his lifetime, he enjoyed a late success, limited to a defined territory: Jenůfa finally made his mark when the composer was already 62 years old. His repertoire includes a ballet, nine operas (the most famous being Katia Kabanova, Jenůfa, Osud, Mr. Brouček’s Excursion to the Moon, The Cunning Little Vixen, LThe Makropulos Case, From the House of the Dead) - almost all of them were composed in Brno - choral works (masses, motets, cantatas), including The Glagolitic Mass to ancient Slavonic lyrics, instrumental music works (rhapsodies, symphonic poems, quartets, sonatas). He died in Ostrava on August 12, 1928.

Currently in

  • Opéra Bastille
  • from 15 January to 01 February 2025
  • Palais Garnier
  • on 27 October 2024 at 12 pm

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