Meet the Composer: Antonín Dvořák

CN thumbnail Antonin Dvorak

Age Range: Elementary

Introduction: Composers write music, just like authors write books. In the Class Notes “Meet the Composer” series, we will learn a little bit about the achievements, backstory, and influences of a variety of composers. Get ready to learn about these influential composers and listen to some of their music.

Free Download: Printable Lesson Plan and Visual Aids: Antonín Dvořák


Antonín Dvořák (AHN-toh-neen dih-VORE-zhahck) was born in 1841 in the Czech Republic. Watch this video to learn a little bit about Dvořák’s life and work. (3.5 minutes)


Antonín Dvořák’s music was well-known and well-respected in his lifetime. He is often remembered for his symphonic works. Sample a few pieces that he composed for different types of ensembles.  

  1. Dvořák wrote nine symphonies for full orchestra. The example below is just a short excerpt from his seventh symphony. Listen for the dynamic contrast and singing melodies.  

  2. Dvořák originally composed this piece, Silent Woods, for two pianists. He later re-wrote the piece for cello and piano, and then re-wrote it again for cello and orchestra. The version below is for cello and piano. As you watch and listen, notice how the two musicians work together to create the same mood and atmosphere.

  3. A string quartet is an ensemble made up of four musicians: two violins, a viola, and a cello. Dvořák composed this quartet during the time he was living in the United States, which is probably how the piece got its nickname. A string quartet is a little bit like four people having a conversation: each instrument has a voice that sometimes carries the melody and then sometimes moves to the background to let another voice speak. As you watch, notice which instrument begins the conversation.  


  1. Use the following question for journaling or discussion:  

    Antonín Dvořák used “folk music” in his compositions. What does the term “folk music” mean to you?  

  2. Travel influenced Antonín Dvořák. Make more connections about music and places by doing the activities in this Music & Geography: Around the World lesson.  

Related Lesson Plans

Logo YourClassical Class Notes

YourClassical is a public media organization and your support makes it possible.

Clean Water Land and Legacy Amendment

This activity is made possible in part by the Minnesota Legacy Amendment’s Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund.

©2024 Minnesota Public Radio. All rights reserved.
Facebook icon
YouTube icon
Instagram icon