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Bohuslav Martinu

Bohuslav Martinu (December 8, 1890 - August 28, 1959) was a Czech composer.

Martinu studied briefly at the Prague Conservatory (before being dismissed for "incorrigible negligence") and later continued to study on his own. His music was influenced by Czech folk music, American jazz as well as some of the great composers of his time - Claude Debussy and Igor Stravinsky.

He left Czechoslovakia for Paris in 1923, although he retained many links with his birthplace. When the German army approached Paris early in the Second World War he fled, first to the south of France, and then to the United States in 1941.

Martinu was a very prolific composer, writing almost 400 pieces. He is not as well-known as his countryman, Leos Janacek, but several of his works are still performed, among them his choral work, The Epic of Gilgamesh (1955); his symphonies, particularly the sixth; his concertos, including those for cello, oboe and five for the piano; and his chamber music.

In His Own Words "The artist is always searching for the meaning of life, his own and that of mankind, searching for truth. A system of uncertainty has entered our daily life. The pressures of mechanisation and uniformity to which it is subject call for protest and the artist has only one means of expressing this, by music." - Bohuslav Martinu



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