September 8, 1841 - May 1, 1904
Antonin Dvorak was born in a village just north of Prague. He was the oldest of nine children. His father was a butcher, and he wanted Antonin to become a butcher, too. Fortunately, an uncle noticed how musical Antonin was, and paid for him to take organ lessons.
Dvorak got a job as a church organist, but what he really wanted to do was compose. So he entered his compositions in a government-sponsored contest and won! The prize money allowed Dvorak to quit his church job, and made him well known as a composer.
In spite of the fact that he never took composition lessons, Dvorak taught composition at the Prague Conservatory. And he also taught in New York City for a couple of years. The last of Dvorak's nine symphonies was written in the United States, and is nicknamed for the fact that it hails "From the New World."
See other composers from the Romantic period