Bohemian composer Bohuslav Martinu (1890-1959) was an immensely prolific and varied composer. The native music was a constant source of inspiration to him.
He became a violinist in the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, and taught music in his home town. In 1923 Martinu left Czechoslovakia for Paris, and deliberately withdrew from the Romantic style in which he had been trained. In the 1930s he experimented with expressionism and constructivism, and became an admirer of current European technical developments, exemplified by his orchestral sentences Half-time and La Bagarre. He also adopted jazz idioms, for instance in his Kitchen Revue. Of the post-war avant-garde styles, neo-classicism influenced him the most. He continued to use Czech folk melodies throughout his oeuvre, usually nursery rhymes.
He emigrated to the United States in 1941, fleeing the German invasion of France. Although as a composer he was successful in America, receiving many commissions, he became homesick for Czechoslovakia. He never returned to his native country, and he died in Switzerland.
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