Jaromír Weinberger

08/01/1896 Praha, 08/08/1967 St. Petersburg, Florida  

Jaromír Weinberger started to devote to music as a child. Initially taking private lessons from Jaroslav Křička, Rudolf Karel and František Franěk, he enrolled at the Prague Conservatory, where he studied under the tutelage of Vítězslav Novák. His oeuvre encompasses piano, violin, orchestral and vocal music, incidental and film scores. His greatest success was the opera Schwanda the Bagpiper, which premiered in 1927 at the National Theatre in Prague and was subsequently staged in 150 productions in 17 languages at theatres worldwide, including the Metropolitan Opera in New York. In 1933, Berlin hosted the premiere of his operetta Frühlingsstürme (Spring Storms), with the stellar tenor Richard Tauber and the renowned soprano Jarmila Novotná in the lead roles. Weinberger’s career was interrupted by the accession of Nazism in Germany. In 1938, he made an extensive tour of the USA, where he decided to stay so as to escape persecution in occupied Czechoslovakia due to his Jewish origin. Even though Weinberger established himself in America as a composer and teacher, he failed to attain the popularity he had enjoyed previously. Diagnosed with cancer and owing to financial worries, he committed suicide.