František Ondříček

Born: 29th April 1857

Died: 12th April 1922

Birthplace: Prague, Czech Republic

František Ondříček was a Czech violinist and composer. He gave the first performance of the Violin Concerto by Antonín Dvořák, and his achievements were recognised by the rare award of honorary membership of the Philharmonic Society of London (now the Royal Philharmonic Society) in 1891. Ondříček was born in Prague, the son of the violinist and conductor Jan Ondříček. He studied at the Prague Conservatory under Antonín Bennewitz, and was then supported by Henryk Wieniawski through two years studying at the Paris Conservatoire, where he shared first prize with Achille Rivarde. He was the soloist in the first performance of Dvořák's Violin Concerto, Op. 53 in Prague on 14 October 1883, and performed it again in Vienna on 2 December. In the late 1880s he settled in Vienna, where he taught. He also published a technical treatise on violin technique in 1909. After World War I, Ondříček returned to Prague, where he directed the violin masterclass at the Prague Conservatory. Notable students include composer Karel Navrátil. He died in Milan. As well as being a highly regarded violinist, Ondříček was also a composer, his works including a set of Bohemian Dances Op. 3 for violin and piano composed in 1883, a Bohemian Rhapsody Op. 21 for violin and piano from 1906, and a String Quartet Op. 22 from 1907. He also left cadenzas for several violin concertos, including those of Mozart and Brahms.

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