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Original manuscript of Dvorak's New World Symphony comes to US for the first time

October 23, 2014 - Five-day display of priceless manuscript is a highlight of week-long events in New York City celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution.

Five-day display of priceless manuscript is a highlight of week-long events in New York City celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution

In 1893 Czech composer Antonin Dvorak composed his most famous work, his Symphony No. 9, From the New World. He was living in the United States at the time, and was inspired by the American music he heard here, which he incorporated into his compositions. On November 16, 2014, the original manuscript of Antonin Dvorak's New World Symphony returns to New York City. This is the first time the document has left the Czech Republic since Dvorak carried it back home in 1895.

The priceless manuscript will be on display at Bohemian National Hall at the Czech Center Gallery (321 E. 73rd Street), reunited with original orchestral parts on loan from the New York Philharmonic, who premiered the work at Carnegie Hall in 1893.

The public is invited to view the exhibit November 17-21, from 1 pm to 9 pm daily. After November 21, the manuscript returns to the Czech National Museum in Prague. The Czech Center New York and Dvorak American Heritage Association will offer a number of related lectures, performances and film screenings at Bohemian National Hall. More information is below and at CzechCenter.com. Admission is free to both the exhibit and the related programs  at Bohemian National Hall.


The Czech government has arranged this unprecedented event in cooperation with the Czech National Museum, in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, the non-violent event that resulted in the end of Communist rule. With this gesture, the people of the Czech Republic express their gratitude to the United States for their support of 25 years of freedom and democracy. Viewing of Dvorak's original manuscript will be open to the public on the exact date of the 25th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution.

The celebration begins on November 16 with Carnegie Hall's presentation of a concert by the Czech Philharmonic, led by Jiri Belohlavek. On November 17, award-winning Czech classical guitarist Vladislav Blaha performs in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall.

On November 22, 2014, the week-long celebration is capped by a multi-genre performance, "Fragile Freedom" at Bohemian National Hall. Theater directors Mirenka Cechova and Petr Bohac present a show dedicated to the life and legacy of Vaclav Havel, the Czech statesman, playwright and human rights advocate who became president in 1989, after taking a major part in the Velvet Revolution. The event features the world premiere performance of short works written by young Czech composers.

All events at Bohemian National Hall are free. Tickets for the Carnegie Hall events may be purchased through their website or by calling 212-247-7800.
All events are at Bohemian National Hall (321 E. 73rd Street), unless otherwise noted.

Czech Center New York Recommends:
November 16, 2014 - 2:00pm: Czech Philharmonic Orchestra
Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall
Conducted by Jiri Belohlavek, the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra performs treasures from its homeland by Dvorak and Janacek, as well as Liszt's Piano Concerto No. 2.
Tickets and more information

November 17, 2014 - 8:00 pm: Vladislav Blaha
Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall
Prize-winning guitarist Vladislav Blaha performs in Weill Recital Hall on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution. 
View full program
Tickets and more information 

free November 18, 6:00 pm: Lecture: "Dvorak to Duke Ellington"
Maestro Maurice Peress traces the influence of Dvorak and the 'New World' Symphony through his American students and "grand-students," including Ellington, Gershwin and Copland. 
Presented by the Dvorak American Heritage Association (DAHA)

free November 19, 6:00 pm: Performance and Lecture: "Dvorak's New York"
New York Philharmonic archivist and historian Barbara Haws and cultural historian Majda Kallab Whitaker discuss highlights of Dvorak's New York residency, including the premiere of the 'New World' Symphony in 1893. Dvorak chamber music performance by ArtsAhimsa String Quartet.
Presented by DAHA

free November 20, 6:00 pm: Lecture: "The 'New World' Symphony: From Happy Birthday to the Song of the Robin."
Dvorak scholar Michael Beckerman explores the musical "back stories" of the 'New World' Symphony. Presented by DAHA

 free November 22, 6:00 pm: Fragile Freedom
Theatrical directors Mirenka Cechova and Petr Bohac present a multi-genre performance dedicated to the life and legacy of Vaclav Havel. Includes premiere performances of short works of music commissioned for the occasion.

free November 23 - December 11: Film screenings: "The Play's the Thing: Vaclav Havel, Art and Politic"
The film series focuses on the places and people that Vaclav Havel knew from the influential Theatre on the Balustrade, where his theatrical career began, to his friendships with filmmakers of the Czech New Wave, and to his political ascendancy in Prague. Curated by Margaret Parsons, head of the film program at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. All films are in Czech with English subtitles. Screenings on November 23 at 6 pm, November 25, December 2 and December 11 at 7 pm.

December 4-13: Dohnanyi / Dvorak: A Philharmonic Festival
Since premiering the New World Symphony, the New York Philharmonic has had a close relationship with the passionate music of Dvorak. Now it is joined by Christoph von Dohnányi, acclaimed for his interpretation of this composer, in a two-week festival including symphonies and concertos by the Czech master. Tickets and more information.