The Prague Conservatory as a Centre of European Music Culture in the 19th and the beginning of the 20th Century: Influences of the Prague Violin School and Migrations of its Representatives through Europe

postdoctoral research project
Basic Info


The phenomenon of extensive migrations of Bohemian musicians across Europe was already taking place at the end of the seventeenth century. Second, in number only to Italians, Bohemian musicians formed the largest group of foreign musicians at the courts of Germany and other European countries in the seventeenth century. Between 1740 and 1810, almost half of the professional violinists originating from Bohemia were active abroad; for that reason, Bohemia was called the “Conservatory of Europe.” With the establishment of the Prague Conservatory in 1811, a major wave of emigration of Prague violinists throughout Europe emerged. Attracted by prospects abroad, most of the talented and promising Prague violinists in the first half of the nineteenth century emigrated throughout Europe, particularly within the Habsburg monarchy. In the second half of the nineteenth century, the Prague violinists’ roles and their migration routes changed. They still mostly emigrated to the cities within the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy and German Empire, but others also settled in the regions of Galicia and Bukovina, which were part of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy until 1918, and in the neighboring Russian Empire and in the United States. Slovene lands were no exception: here also, Bohemians left an important mark in the musical landscape, being the main proponents of the development of violin playing.

The study was interested in the dimensions of the impacts that the Prague violin school left in Europe and to what extent the Slovenian territory, which received strong musical influences from the Czech Lands in general and this school in particular, was embedded into the European musical scene. The research investigated the various motivations for migrations (geographic, political, linguistic etc.), and also focused on the biographical data of the Prague violinists between 1811 and 1919.


Project Website: 

By demonstrating the extensive migration of Prague violinists between 1811 and 1919, the historical importance of their contribution to the development of violin playing in Europe and Slovenia was displayed for the first time. The visualization of the results and integration of the research into the various musical events have contributed to bringing science closer to a wider circle of music lovers. The present research filled some of the uncharted areas of musicology in the field of music migrations and violin performing. It also corrected a considerable amount of omissions from the Czech music history that had lost the traces of many of its own musicians who emigrated in the across Europe and to the United States. New biographical data for 1160 Prague violinists and numerous other important facts relevant to musical history were introduced for the very first time. New views of the research significantly complemented and refreshed the historic view on the development of the performance of one of the most important musical instruments. The contribution of the overlooked Prague violinists to the development of violin playing in Europe and in the United States during the nineteenth and at the beginning of the twentieth century was evaluated.

Selected bibliographical results:


  • ZUPANČIČ, Maruša. At the crossroads of European violin heritage: the migration of Prague violinists throughout Europe from the beginning of the nineteenth century up to the 1880s. Hudební věda, ISSN 0018-7003, 2018, roč. 55, č. 1, str. 5-40. [COBISS.SI-ID 42903597]
  • ZUPANČIČ, Maruša. The influx of Bohemian violinists to Slovenia and Croatia up to the1920s. Arti musices : hrvatski muzikološki zbornik, ISSN 0587-5455, 2019, god. 50, br. 1/2, str. 259-300., doi: 10.21857/9e31lhn1dm. [COBISS.SI-ID 46002477]
  • ZUPANČIČ, Maruša. Contribution of Prague violinists to the musical life in Europe and the United States during World War I. V: TUKSAR, Stanislav (ur.), JURIĆ JANJIK, Monika (ur.). Prvi svjetski rat (1914.-1918.) i glazba : skladateljske strategije, izvedbene prakse i društveni utjecaji = The Great War (1914-1918) and music : compositional strategies, performing practices, and social impacts, (Serija Muzikološki zbornici, br. 21, no. 21). Zagreb: Hrvatsko muzikološko društvo. 2019, str. 349-376. [COBISS.SI-ID 14942211]
  • ZUPANČIČ, Maruša. Doprinos praških violinista europskom glazbenom životu tijekom Prvog svjetskog rata = The contribution of the Prague violinists to musical life in Europe during World War I. V: Prvi svjetski rat (1914.-1918.) i glazba : skladateljske strategije, izvedbene prakse i društveni utjecaji = The Great War (1914-1918) and music : compositional strategies, performing practices, and social impacts. [S. l.: s. n.]. 2017, str. 67-68. [COBISS.SI-ID 42379053]
  • ZUPANČIČ, Maruša. Václav Humi i njegova mreža glazbenika = Václav Humi and his network of musicians. V: Umrežavanje glazbom u "dugom 19. stoljeću" : pripreme : radionica, Zagreb, 23. listopada 2017 = Networking through music in the "long 19th century" : preliminaries. workshop, Zagreb, 23 October 2017. [S. l.: s. n.]. 2017, str. 17. [COBISS.SI-ID 42374445]
  • ZUPANČIČ, Maruša. Migracije praških violinistov po Evropi med letoma 1811 in 1919 = The migration of Prague violinists throughout Europe between 1811 and 1919. V: RIBIZEL, Tjaša (ur.). Glasbene migracije : stičišče evropske glasbene raznolikosti : program in izvlečki = Musical migrations : crossroads of European musical diversity : programme and abstracts. Ljubljana: Festival. 2016, str. 37-38. [COBISS.SI-ID 39730477]
  • ZUPANČIČ, Maruša. The Prague Conservatory : the birth of a rich and influential violin tradition in Europe between 1811 and 1919 : predavanje na Oddelku za zgodovino glasbe, Inštitut za etnologijo na Akademiji znanosti Češke republike, Praga, 6. december 2017. [COBISS.SI-ID 42375213]
  • ZUPANČIČ, Maruša. Po sledeh praške violinske šole na Slovenskem : predavanje na 5. kongresu učiteljev godalnih instrumentov, 6. dec. 2014, Ljubljana. [COBISS.SI-ID 37854253]


  • ZUPANČIČ, Maruša. At the crossroads of European violin heritage : the Bohemian road : postavitev razstave v okviru 44. mednarodne konference učiteljev godalnih inštrumentov, Kazina center, Ljubljana, 27. apr. 2016. [COBISS.SI-ID 41082413]


Prague Conservatory
Prague Violin School
Music Migration in Europe
Violin playing
Immigrant Musicians in the Slovene Lands

Research areas
Musicology H320