Joelle, Dvorak and NYC

David Johnston

The fabulous Antonin Dvorak, AKA “Old Borax” to his students.


Joelle Wallach, one of this year’s EtM Con Edison Composers-in-Residence, gave a spirited and engaging talk on the great Antonin Dvorak and his time in New York on Friday night at Turtle Bay Music School. Besides being a gifted composer, Joelle Wallach is also a lecturer for the New York Philharmonic. This lecture, “Dvorak in New York City” was the culminating program of her residency at TBMS, sponsored by EtM’s Con Edison Composers Residency.

The Bohemian Dvorak from Prague came to New York at the behest of Jeannette Meyers Thurber, a wealthy patron of the arts. (She paid him serous coin to come here – fifteen grand in 1892.). Dvorak ran the National Conservatory of Music and immersed himself in the musical life of the young country.  Wallach talked about Dvorak’s music, his enthusiasm for all sounds American, they key role of his friend and protege Harry Burleigh, and Dvorak’s fascination for the African-American spirituals of the time, culminating in his New World Symphony.




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