Thursday, May 5, 2011: What’s Coming??

“He was the most loyal trainspotter … Whenever he could, he fled his paternal duties, observed trains, waved, and wrote down the names of the steam engines. After some time, engine drivers noticed the small childlike figure, waved back, or even hooted in greeting.”

A train? In a magazine about classical music?

–Vratislav Šimůnek, station master, Kralupy nad Vltavou

You might wonder what a steam locomotive is doing on our Home page.

You might wonder why we have quoted Vratislav Šimůnek.

Most of all, you might be amused to know exactly who that small, childlike figure was.

It was Antonín Dvořák, “the most loyal trainspotter in Nelahozeves,” his ‘home’ town.

These and other funny, amazing, revealing, and touching facts will be unveiled in a new exhibit on the Maestro, open June 7 and running

Dvořák's portrait upon receiving an honorary degree from Cambridge

through the end of February 2012. The exhibit, marking the 170th anniversary of the composer’s birth, will display many of the 8,000
authentic Dvořák artifacts in the collection of the National Museum – Czech Museum of Music. Many items will be taken out of safe deposits and shown to the public for the first time.

But don’t be afraid that you’ll get a backache from bending over too many glass museum cases.

The Czech Museum of Music (which has most recently been the site of a very popular exhibit on The Beatles) with its open spaces and inviting balconies, will host the new exposition. This concert and exhibition space presents intriguing possibilities for interactive displays, and the Antonín Dvořák Exhibition will take full advantage of them.

“There’s even going to be a small section of a train,” Eva Velická tells Opus Osm. The chief curator of the Antonín Dvořák Museum in Prague describes a small train compartment which will hold various items documenting Dvořák’s passion for trains.

Other highlights for visitors to enjoy include audio-visual programs, concerts, tours, lectures, and musical workshops for children. Plans for special family weekend programs are still in development at the moment.

“When we played, it often happened that during the forté his pince-nez would drop, and this made him angry and he grumbled a lot.”
– Josef Suk, composer, from the forthcoming exhibit

The exhibit “will present Dvořák as a human, a humble, deeply religious person and loving father who was, however, also explosive, hot-tempered, and afflicted by phobias,” according to the museum.

On display for the first time will be newly-acquired documents on the performance of Dvořák’s works in the World War II Terezín concentration camp and a Soviet gulag. And if you like trivia for the record books, you’ll be glad to know that the exhibit will even include information about a Dvořák performance on the moon. — oo

– Mary Matz

” ‘ You don’t smoke?’ Dad said in amazement. ‘So in that case you’ll never become a composer. If you want to compose you have to smoke!’”
–Otakar Dvořák, son, in a quote from the forthcoming exhibit

Photo Credits: Sean Lamb


  1. Lynne DeMichele
    Posted May 12, 2011 at 12:59 am

    Where on earth do you find these wonderful, arcane tidbits?

  2. Posted May 12, 2011 at 7:38 am

    At the Antonín Dvořák Museum, Prague, and other museums. But since not everybody can come to Prague, Opus Osm tries to share the best bits with everybody around the world. Glad you can join us!

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