Bohuslav Martinu, Composer, Atlantic Classical Orchestra

Born December 8, 1890; Policka, Czechia
Died August 28, 1959; Liestal, Switzerland
Le boeuf sur le Toir, Op. 58


1919-1920; 28 years old

Bohuslav Martinů, the Czech virtuoso, harmonized French and Czech influences in a captivating symphony of compositions. Starting with violin studies at the tender age of six, Martinů embarked on a musical journey that led him to the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and later to the influential guidance of Czech nationalist leader Josef Suk. Venturing to Paris in 1923 for tutelage under the esteemed French composer Albert Roussel, Martinů cultivated a distinctive blend of styles that echoed both his homeland and the French musical tradition.

In the face of historic events, Martinů’s orchestral masterpieces, like Half-Time (1924) inspired by a Czech-French football match, and La Bagarre (1927) capturing the fervor of Charles Lindbergh’s transatlantic flight reception, showcased his ability to infuse contemporary themes into his art. Forced to flee the German invasion during World War II, Martinů found refuge in the United States, leaving an indelible mark with works such as the powerful Double Concerto (1940), expressing the pain of Czechoslovakia’s partition. His oeuvre, spanning symphonies, concerti, and poignant compositions like the Memorial to Lidice (1943), blends vitality, charm, and originality, epitomizing a harmonious marriage of Czech folk traditions and Neoclassical precision with a touch of French flair.