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In their final concert for 2019, the Philharmonic Orchestra will play Dvorák’s mighty 9th Symphony, From the New World. In 1893, when he composed the work, Dvorák was Director of the National Conservatory of Music of America (a conservatoire open for students irrespective of gender or race which, for its day, was rare). Dvorák studied both Native American and Afro-American music and intended to incorporate such idioms into his music (much in the same way as he had previously achieved with Czech folk music). And so, when the New York Philharmonic commissioned a symphony from him, we clearly hear an essence of all these elements. The symphony is in four movements – with a recurring ‘theme of the soil’ motif that travels throughout the whole piece and binds the music together.
The venue for this concert was previously advertised as The Ian Potter Southbank Centre.