The Fine Print Of Dvorak’s Contract

One of my favourite composers is Antonin Dvorak. Perhaps this is because we have long associations with several big time Czech conductors or maybe it is just his fantastic music. Here is a fascinating article, reproduced from the New York Times detailing the contract Dvorak signed with the National Conservatory of Music in New York …

The contract that brought Antonin Dvorak to New York to lead the National Conservatory of Music of America allowed him to earn more than 25 times what he had been earning in Prague, and opened a very fruitful period of his career in which he wrote some of his best-loved works, including the “New World” Symphony and the Cello Concerto. While its details have long been known to scholars, one of the original signed contracts — discovered recently by the great-grandson of the conservatory’s founder, Jeannette Thurber, and purchased by the Dvorak American Heritage Association — will be displayed publicly for the first time on Sept. 8 at the Bohemian National Hall at 321 East 73rd Street in Manhattan.

Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

The Dvorak American Heritage Association will display Dvorak’s contract next month at Bohemian National Hall.

Related

On Dvorak’s salary:

“That the said party of the first part hereby agrees and contracts to pay the said party of the second part a salary of the rate of fifteen thousand dollars a year for two years….”

On Dvorak’s weekly duties:

“To give his sole attention during each eight months from the 23rd day of September to the 23rd day of May which shall form the scholastic year of the said party of the first part for three hours every day for the performance of the above mentioned duties. This arrangement of such duties and the hours which they shall respectively occupy on each day in every week to be in accordance with the following table.

Monday. Two hours to be given to the preparation of the students for the performances and concerts of the said party of the first part and one hour for business consultation….

Tuesday. The whole three hours to be devoted in giving instruction in composition and instrumentation to the most talented pupils only.

Wednesday and Friday. The three hours to be occupied in the same manner as on Monday.

Thursday and Saturday. The three hours to be occupied in the same manner as on Tuesday.”

On Dvorak’s concerts:

“And it is mutually agreed that in further consideration of the salary before mentioned the said party of the second part shall conduct such number of concerts as he may be required not exceeding six in each scholastic year as above defined.”

On summer vacation:

“It is mutually agreed that the remaining four months in each year not forming part of the said scholastic year namely from the 23rd day of May to the 22nd day of September shall be at the free and absolute disposal of the said party of the second part and during such period the said party of the second part shall be in no way bound by the conditions and stipulations herein contained or otherwise by reason of this agreements.”

About brendanball

Professional Trumpeter: Soloist, Orchestra Player, Chamber Music, Contemporary Music & Education.
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