A gifted child, the Bohemian composer Jaromír Weinberger studied at the Prague Conservatory with Vitězslav Novák and then with Max Reger in Leipzig, pursuing an early career as a conductor and pianist. He wrote music in particular for the theatre and, during a period teaching in America, sought to emulate Dvořák in a planned ‘Union Rhapsody’, a purpose never realised. At home he became briefly director of the opera in Bratislava and director of the Cheb Music School before moving to Prague. Compelled to emigrate after the Anschluss, he returned to America in 1939, settling in Florida where his later depression led to suicide.
Weinberger’s lasting success was the Czech opera Švanda the Bagpiper, first staged in Prague in 1927, then at the Vienna State Opera in 1930 and at the New York Metropolitan Opera in 1931. This folk-opera won wide popularity, being staged in various translations and providing a particularly popular instrumental movement for the concert hall in its Polka and Fugue. His other stage works never achieved the same level of success.