Karel Komzák I

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Karel Komzák I

Karel Komzák I (4 November 1823 – 19 March 1893) was a Bohemian composer, organist, bandmaster and conductor. He was the father of Karel Komzák II and the grandfather of Karel Komzák III.

Biography[edit]

Komzák’s family home in Netěchovice

Karel Komzák was born in 1823 in Netěchovice, near Týn nad Vltavou, now in the České Budějovice District of the Czech Republic. A memorial plaque now commemorates his birthplace.[1] He learned the violin from his father, a blacksmith but also a popular folk singer and acclaimed violinist,[2] and studied with Moritz Mildner and Antonín Bennewitz at the Prague Conservatory.[3] He studied at the School for Organists and became a village teacher. Later he was an organist at a lunatic asylum, the National Institute for the Mentally Ill, where he worked for 19 years.[2] He was also a bandmaster of the Rifle Corps in Prague[4] and a theatre conductor in Linz.[3] He moved around frequently, staying longest at Vienna and Baden.

He formed a well-respected orchestra for opera performances at the Czech Provisional Theatre. In 1862 it was permanently attached to the Theatre.[5] Among its players were Antonín Dvořák (viola) and the composer's own son Karel Komzák II (violin).[4][5][6] He was succeeded in this post by Bedřich Smetana.[7]

Memorial plaque at Komzák’s birthplace

In 1865 Komzák was appointed bandmaster in the 11th Infantry Regiment of the Austro-Hungarian Army[5][6] in Innsbruck.[3] He served in this post for the next 15 years in a variety of locations.[5]

In 1876 he declined an offer to conduct at the World Exhibition in Chicago, followed by a concert tour of Boston, Washington and New York.[2]

In 1880 he moved to the 74th Infantry Regiment.[5] Up until this time, he had warmed the hearts of his listeners by regularly including Czech folk songs in his concert programs, but from 1880 this music was forbidden.[5] He retired in 1881, but only a year later was persuaded to join the newly formed 88th Infantry Regiment in Prague as a bandmaster.[5] He retired in April 1888[5] to his birthplace, where he died in 1893, aged 69.

He wrote more than 200 popular marches, waltzes, mazurkas, polkas, galops, quadrilles and other dances.

References[edit]

  1. ^ geolocation
  2. ^ a b c zuskomzaka
  3. ^ a b c allmusic
  4. ^ a b Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 5th ed (1954), Vol. IV, p. 818
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h naxos direct
  6. ^ a b Classics Online
  7. ^ Verlag Dohr