May 12, 1884: Czech music great Bedřich Smetana dies

Bedřich Smetana

One of the greatest Czech composers, Bedřich Smetana, known as "the father of Czech music," died on this day, 140 years ago.

Bedřich Smetana (March 2, 1824– May 12, 1884) is one of the most influential figures in Czech music history, celebrated for his patriotic compositions and significant contributions to the development of Czech musical identity.

Born in the East Bohemian town of Litomyšl, Smetana showed a great talent for music from an early age, receiving his first music lessons from his father before later moving to Prague to study.

Smetana's oeuvre is characterized by his profound patriotism and deep connection to Czech culture. His compositions, including the symphonic cycle Má vlast (My Homeland), which portrays the history, legends and landscape, and the opera The Bartered Bride, reflect his pride in Czech history and folklore.

Despite facing personal tragedy and adversity, including the deaths of three of his four daughters and deafness in his later years, the composer remained dedicated to his musical craft, leaving behind a legacy that continues to inspire musicians and audiences worldwide, two centuries after his birth.



  • Czech Music Greats

    2024 is the Year of Czech Music, a celebration held once a decade, on every year that ends on the number four, a number that marks many Czech music anniversaries.

  • Faces of Czech Music

    Dvořák, Smetana, Janáček, Martinů – Czechia can boast a number of renowned figures from the past, but what about Czech music today?