Antonin Dvorak was a son of a butcher, but he did not follow his father's trade. While assisting his father part-time, he studied music, and graduated from the Prague Organ School in 1859. He also was an accomplished violinist and violist, and joined the Bohemian Theatre Orchestra, which was under the baton of Bedrich Smetana in 1860s. For financial reasons he quit the orchestra and focused on composing and teaching. He fell in love with one of his students, but she married another guy. Her sister was available, so Dvorak married the sister, Anna, in 1873, and they had nine children.
Dvorak's early compositions were influenced by Richard Wagner and Johannes Brahms, and with their promotion his music became performed in European capitals and received international acclaim. His performances in 1880s of Slavonic Dances, the Sixth Symphony and the Stabat Mater were a success in England, and Dvorak received an honorary doctorate from Cambridge. He made a successful concert tour in Russia in 1890, and became a professor at the Prauge Conservatory. In 1892 he received an invitation to America from Jeaunnette Thurber, the founder of he National Conservatory of Music in New York City. Dvorak was the Director of the National Conservatory in New York for three years (1892-95), where he also taught composition and carried on his cross-cultural studies.
Dvorak broadened his experiences through studying the music of the Native Americans and African Americans, many of whom became his students and friends. Dvorak was inspired by the originality of indigenous American music and culture, as well as by the spirituals and by the singing of his African American students. Dvorac incorporated his new ideas, blended with his Bohemian roots, into his well-known Symphony No.9 in E minor "From the New World". He worked on this symphony for most of the spring and summer of 1893, and made it's glorious premiere in Carnegie Hall in December, 1893. In America he also wrote the remarkable Cello Concerto and two string quartets, including the Quartet in F ("The American"). Dvorak was doing very well in New York financially, but his heart was in Prague and he left America for his Czech Motherland. He had a big family with his wife and nine children in Prague. He became the Director of the Prague Conservatory in 1901 and kept the position until his death in 1904