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The Prague Conservatory was founded in 1808 by local aristocrats and burghers. Classes started in 1811, after a delay caused by the Napoleonic Wars. Bedřich Diviš Weber was appointed the first director of the school.
In 1891, Antonín Dvořák joined the faculty as the head of the composition department. He was the school's director between 1901 and 1904. Dvořák's students included the composers Vítězslav Novák, Josef Suk (who later served as director of the Conservatory), Rudolf Friml, Oskar Nedbal, and Franz Lehár. Another director of the school was pianist Vilém Kurz.
Following the creation of Czechoslovakia in 1918, drama and ballet departments were established. Students in this period included Lída Baarová (dropped out), Jiří Langmajer, Tatiana Vilhelmová (dropped out), Filip Blažek, and Zuzana Vejvodová. Katya Zvelebilova began classical ballet training at the Prague Conservatory before joining the Royal Ballet School in London, where she is now a member of the artistic staff, having retired from professional ballet.
Applicants must pass stringent entrance examinations, often held in several elimination rounds, to demonstrate their talent.
Prague Conservatory offers instruction in several instruments, including accordion, guitar, piano, and organ, as well as in singing, composing, conducting, and acting. The curriculum includes theoretical studies and language education, as well as general education. The institution has its own symphonic and chamber orchestras, several chamber music ensembles, and a theatre company. About 250 concerts and 40 dramatic performances are held annually.
In the academic year of 2005/2006, approximately 550 Czech and 40 foreign students studied at the Conservatory.
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