Bendl, Karel (1838 – 1897)

Composer, conductor, choirmaster and teacher, and a leading figure in Prague cultural circles in the latter half of the 19th century. He met Dvorak during their studies at the organ school and their friendship endured for many years. Dvorak dedicated his first song cycle Cypresses to “my good friend Karel Bendl, as a token of our friendship.” During the early 1860s young Dvorak was a frequent guest at the home of the wealthy Bendl family, where he was given leave to avail himself of their piano and their considerable archive of sheet music. Bendl was also party to Dvorak’s first important public triumph when, on 9 March 1873, he performed the composer’s Hymn “The Heirs of the White Mountain” with Prague’s Hlahol choral society. During the 1890s Karel Bendl was appointed Dvorak’s deputy at the Prague Conservatoire during the latter’s time in the United States.