Antonin Dvorak was born in a village just north of Prague. He was the oldest of nine children. His father was a butcher who wanted Antonin to become a butcher, too. But, when he saw how musical Antonin was, he made sure he got a good music education, including violin and organ lessons.
Dvorak got a job as a church organist, but what he really wanted to do was compose. So he entered his compositions in a government-sponsored contest and won! The prize money allowed Dvorak to quit his church job, and made him well known as a composer.
In spite of the fact that he never took composition lessons, Dvorak taught composition at the Prague Conservatory. And he also taught in New York City for a couple of years. The last of Dvorak’s nine symphonies was written in the United States, and is nicknamed for the fact that it hails “From the New World.”