Balatka, Hans, Czech-American conductor, music educator, music journalist, and composer; b. Horfhungsthal, near Olmütz, Feb. 26, 1825; d. Chicago, April 17, 1899. He began his music studies in Hoffhungsthal, and then attended the Univ. of Olmütz. In 1845 he went to Vienna to study music with Sechter and Proch, and also studied law at the Univ. In 1849 he went to Milwaukee and founded a men’s chorus, followed by a string quartet in 1850. He was founder-music director of the Milwaukee Musical Soc. (1850–60), music director of the German theater (1855–60), and founder-director of his own singing-school. In 1860 he went to Chicago, where he was music director of the Phil. Soc. until 1869 and was active as conductor of various singing organizations. After again conducting the Milwaukee Musical Soc. (1871–72), he settled in Chicago and in 1879 he organized the Balatka Academy of Music. He also was active as a music journalist. Balatka composed some orch. music, a Piano Quartet, piano pieces, choral works, and songs, but his importance rests upon his work as a conductor and music educator.
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire