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Photograph of the Smetana bust.

Bedřich Smetana: (1824-1884) Czech Composer

Bedrich Smetana was born on March 2, 1824 in Litomyšl.  He was taught to play the violin by his father, an avid amateur violinist.  He studied music in Prague, and secured a post as music master to a noble family, and in 1848 received funds from Franz Liszt to establish his own music school.

In 1863, he opened a school of music in Prague dedicated to music that was specifically Czech in character.  He used traditional Czech rhythms in his work, which explored Czech themes. His best known comedy, The Bartered Bride (1866), reflected the distinctive Czech character of Smetana's work.

In 1874, Smetana became deaf as a result of syphilis.  Afterward he composed an autobiography that mimicked the tinnitus he suffered from while deaf. 

Smetana died in 1884, from complications of his syphilis.

Photographs:

Smetana Bust 

Further Reading:

Radio Prague, Virtual Cemetery, Bedrich Smetana

Radio Prague, Czechs in History, Bedrich Smetana

Sony Music, The Essentials of Music, Bedrich Smetana   

Matthew Boynick, The Classical Music Pages, Bedrich Smetana