Antonín Dvořák was one of the first Czech composers to achieve worldwide recognition. Born near Prague in 1841, Dvořák showed musical talent from a young age, learning the violin from the age of six. He quickly gained recognition locally as a performer, though the first public performances of his compositions were not until the 1870s. Seeking greater recognition, he submitted the score of his First Symphony to a competition in Germany, but did not win. The unreturned manuscript was presumed lost until discovered many years later in a second-hand bookshop. He entered a number of other competitions over the years, eventually gaining acclaim and winning the Austrian State prize in 1874, 1876, and 1877, after which he became acquainted with Johannes Brahms and the prominent critic Eduard Hanslick. Dvořák finally had his music published after this, and his first published piece, the Slavonic Dances, became a bestseller.
In 1892, Dvořák moved to the United States, where he had been invited to become the director of the National Conservatory of Music in New York. He wrote a number of his most successful works here, but eventually decided to return to Europe due to shortfalls in his salary and the onset of homesickness. He returned to Bohemia, at this point a well-known and respected composer throughout Europe. His place in the world of classical music has remained to this day.