Moravské zemské muzeum
Národní muzeum

The Augustinian Monastery in Old Brno played an important part in music

life of the 19th century‘s Moravia. It was then an intellectual, cultural and

Slavonic centre of the region. Besides others, the naturalist Johann Gregor

Mendel (1882-1884) lived and worked there and fi rst of all the enlightened

abbot Cyril František Napp (1792-1867). Several Czech associations

joining the German ones were founded in Brno. Beseda brněnská created

in 1860 was incontestably the most important of them. Among other

important associations with the seat in Besední dům, let us mention the

Craftsmen Association Svatopluk, the Czech Readers’ Club, the Russian

Circle or the Association of Friends of Arts; the members of the latter were,

besides Leoš Janáček, such prominent personalities as Dušan Jurkovič,

Karel Elgart, Josef Šíma, Jaroslav Syřiště or Jaroslav Helfert.

Another Brno association, Vesna, was gradually transformed into a Female

educational association (1872) and fi nally into the ”Ladies’ educational

and production association Vesna” (1888). The original orientation

of the association on the education of women aiming at a higher quality

of the new population went far beyond its limits. Outstanding personalities

of cultural life in Brno gathered around Vesna (František Bartoš, Leoš

Janáček, Františka Stránecká, Gabriela Preissová, Dušan Jurkovič,

Joža Uprka, Josef Merhaut). The activities of the association stressed

the national Enlightenment that fi nally became political character. The

Vesna association remarkably introduced folk culture into school curricula

and contributed a great deal to the successful presentation of Moravia in

the Czech-Slavonic Ethnographic Exhibition 1895 in Prague.

The history of the opera and ballet of the National Theatre Brno is also

connected with the outstanding personality of Leoš Janáček. Besides

the close connection with his operas, the progressive dramaturgy

that brought several Czechoslovak as well as world premieres is to be


The majority of Janáček’s operas were fi rst staged in Brno theatre.

The then director and music conductor František Neumann (1874-1929),

plastic artists Eduard Milén (1891-1976), Vlastislav Hofman (1884-

1964) and Josef Čapek (1887-1945) are to be mentioned. Thanks to

the world premieres of the operas Káťa Kabatová, Příhody lišky Bystroušky

(Cunning Little Vixen), Věc Makropulos and Z mrtvého domu, the National

Theatre Brno stood in the centre of attention of the whole cultural world.

The music conductor František Jílek (1913-1993) and the dramaturge

Václav Nosek (1921-2000) followed up with the glorious era of the 1920s

and 1930s (Club of Moravian Composers headed by Leoš Janáček) in

the National Theatre in the 1960s. Several Czechoslovak as well as

world premieres were staged in Brno again. A new tendency appeared

accepting the evolution of Western music, quest, and experiments,

interconnection of plastic and music art (audio-visual compositions

Chatrný – Piňos) etc.

© Moravské zemské muzeum 2010, vytvořila Adamna NET (