Universal Edition - Leoš Janáček – Biography


Leoš Janáček


1854Leoš Janáček is born on 3rd July in Hukvaldy, Moravia.

1869 – Finishes school and begins to attend the Brno Teacher Training Institute.

1872 – Begins teaching, and becomes the choirmaster at the monastery where he was a chorister.

1874 – Becomes a fully qualified teacher and attends the Prague Organ School.

1877 – First piece, Exaudi, choral piece for mixed voices published.

1881 – Marries Zdenka Schulzová and is appointed the founding director of the Brno Organ School.

1882 – Daughter, Olga, born but soon afterwards separates from his wife. Begins teaching at Brno Beseda, and at the Organ School.

1884 – Janáček returns to his wife. Hudební listy is founded, in which, many of Janáček’s writings and reviews are published. Czech theatre opens in Brno.

1886 – Begins teaching at Old Gymnasium in Brno where František Bartoš (the philologist who later constructed the collections of folk songs with Janáček).

1887 – Composes his first opera Šárka and sends the manuscript to Antonín Dvořák for his comments, but the rights for the libretto are refused by its author, Július Zeyer.

1888 – Second version of Šárka written after Dvořák’s recommendations. Last volume of journal Hudební listy published. Begins collecting folk songs with Bartoš. Son Vladimír is born.

1890 – Janáček’s son dies. Premiere of Gabriela Preissová’s play Her Stepdaughter.

1891Počátek románu composed, including adaptation into a suite.

1894 – Premiere of Počátek románu in Brno, begins to plan Jenůfa, and writes the original ‘Jealousy’ prelude.

1902 – Janáček’s daughter, Olga, is mortally ill. Completes Act Two of Jenůfa in the summer.

1903 – Olga dies in February. Jenůfa is completed and dedicated to her memory. Sees Charpentier’s Louise, which remains a lasting inspiration to his later works. Jenůfa is submitted to the Brno theatre, where it is accepted for performance. Starts plans for Osud.

1904 – First performances of Jenůfa in Brno. Has plans to write another Preissová opera (based on The Farm Mistress) but instead continues with work on Osud.

1905Osud first version completed.

1906 – Revises the opera and submits it for consideration at the Brno theatre.

1907 – Sketches are made for a new opera on the subject of Anna Karenina. Submits Osud for performance at the new Czech theatre in Prague, and makes further revisions. Jenůfa also undergoes revisions.

1908Jenůfa published in vocal score. The Excursions of Mr Brouček to the Moon begun.

1910–1911 – Further work on the Brouček opera, which he completes in two act for in 1917.

1915–1916 – Kovařovic accepts Jenůfa for performance in Prague (performed in 1916 in Kovařovic’s version of the score to great success). Completes the final version of Brouček and begins the Epilogue.

1917 – Has affair with Gabriela Horvátová, the Kostelníčka in the Prague Jenůfa. Has out-of-court divorce from his wife. Epilogue of Brouček opera is completed. Jenůfa published. Meets Kamila Stösslová in Luhačovice and begins The Diary of One who Disappeared.

1918Jenůfa premiered in Vienna. Abandons epilogue to Brouček, which is then accepted for Prague, later published. Czechoslovakia becomes independent.

1919 – Revises Šárka (which he finds again in a trunk) and completes The Diary. Sees a performance of Puccini’s Butterfly that is the impetus for composing an opera of Ostrovsky’s The Storm, which becomes Katja Kabanowa.

1920Brouček performed in Prague.

1921 Completes Katja, which is premiered in Brno. Buys holiday cottage in Hukvaldy, the village in which he was born.

1923 – Completes The Cunning Little Vixen and begins his next opera The Makropoulos Case.

1924 – World premiere of Vixen in Brno, and Berlin premiere of Jenůfa.

1925Vixen given in Prague. Šárka given for the first time in Brno. The Makropoulos Case is completed.

1926 – Brno premiere of Brouček, followed by the publication and premiere of Makropoulos in Brno. Katja premiered in Berlin.

1927 – Begins his final opera From the House of the Dead. From his visit to Písek in April Janáček writes to Kamila Stösslová more or less every day until his death. Interludes to Katja are extended to suit staging requirements.

1928The Makropoulos Case premiered in Prague. From the House of the Dead is completed.

Leoš Janáček catches a chill during Stösslová’s trip to Hukvaldy and dies from pneumonia in Ostrava on the 12th August.