Vila Amerika in Prague was the summer palace of Vaclav Michna. Built by Kilian Ignac Dientzenhofer between 1712-1720, for two centuries this magnificent Baroque pleasure house attracted the aristocracy to its stylish interiors and well-manicured grounds.
Today, Vila Amerika houses a museum dedicated to the life and works of Antonín Dvorak (1841-1904), one of the Czech Republic's greatest composers.
Dvorak was born near Prague, then part of the Austrian Empire. A composer of romantic music, his inspiration was drawn from the idioms and melodies of Moravian and Bohemia folk music.
Dvorak composed symphonic, choral and chamber music. His works include the New World Symphony, the Slavonic Dances, the American String Quartet and the Cello Concerto in B minor. He also wrote operas, of which the best known is Rusalka.
The Museum of Antonín Dvorak was established at Vila Amerika in 1932. It focuses on collecting, maintaining and displaying documents on the maestro´s life and works.
The collection comprises sheet music manuscripts, personal correspondence and other written material, works of art, period photographs, programmes, posters and personal objects.
These precious exhibits draw admirers of Antonín Dvorak from all over the world. For, although he spent most of his life in or near Prague, he lived 3 years in America as the director of the National Conservatory of Music, he visited England 9 times, often conducting his own works, and influenced by Tchaikovsky, he conducted orchestras in Moscow and St. Petersburg.
May to October, Vila Amerika presents a series of classical concerts entitled Wonderful Dvorak. These take place in the stunning Music Salon, which boasts a wonderful ceiling fresco "Rise of Apollo" by Jan Ferdinand Schor, and an imposing Baroque fireplace.
Performances are presented "living history" style in period costume, in a re-enactment of a scene from 1904, where the master Antonín Dvorak is due to arrive at any moment.
For listings and to book tickets for the classical concerts (which also include entry to the museum) at Vila Amerika: