Skip to main content

Foerster, Josef Bohuslav

Foerster, Josef Bohuslav

Foerster, Josef Bohuslav, eminent Czech composer and teacher, son of Josef Förster; b. Prague, Dec. 30, 1859; d. Nový Vestec, near Stará Boleslav, May 29, 1951. He studied at the Prague Organ School (1879–82), then was organist at St. Vojtech (1882–88) and choirmaster of Parma Marie Snezná (1889–94). He married the Czech soprano Berta Foerstrová-Lautererová; (b. Prague, Jan. 11, 1869; d. there, April 9, 1936) in 1888; when she became a member of the Hamburg Opera in 1893, he settled there as a music critic and later became a prof. of piano at the Cons, in 1901. After his wife became a member of the Vienna Court Opera in 1903, he became a prof. of composition at the New Vienna Cons. He returned to Prague in 1918; then taught composition at the Cons. (1919–22), at its master school (1922–31), and at the Univ. of Prague (1920–36). He served as president of the Czech Academy of Sciences and Art (1931–39), and was awarded the honorary title of National Artist of the Czech government in 1945. He continued to teach privately and to compose during the last years of his long life. He taught many distinguished Czech composers of the 20th century. He publ. a detailed autobiography (Prague, 1929–47), as well as several vols. of essays and articles. Of his numerous compositions, the most important are his operas, instrumental music, and choral pieces written before World War I. His works from this period are suffused with lyric melos, and reveal characteristic national traits in Foerster’s treatment of melodic and rhythmic material; his harmonic idiom represents the general style of Central European Romanticism.


DRAMATIC Opera (all 1st perf. in Prague): Debora (1890–91; Jan. 27, 1893); Eva (1895–97; Jan. 1, 1899); Jessika (1902–04; April 16, 1905); Nepfemozeni (Invincibilities; 1917; Dec. 19, 1918); Srdce (Hearts; 1921–22; Nov. 15, 1923); Bloud (The Fool; 1935–36; Feb. 28, 1936). CHAMBER: 3 piano trios (1883; 1894; 1919–21); String Quintet (1886); 5 string quartets (1888; 1893; 1907–13; 1944; 1951); 2 cello sonatas (1898, 1926); Wind Quintet (1909); Piano Quintet (1928); Nonet (1931); Violin Sonata (1925); Sonata quasi fantasia for Solo Violin (1943); piano pieces. VOCAL: Choral works; songs. OTHER: Inci-dental music for various plays. ORCH.: 5 syms.: No. 1 (1887–88), No. 2 (1892–93), No. 3 (1894), No. 4 (1905), and No. 5 (1929); Me mladi (My Youth), symphonic poem (1900); Cyrano de Bergerac, suite (1903); Ze Shakespeara (From Shakespeare), suite (1908–09); Legenda o stesti (Legend of Happiness), symphonic poem (1909); 2 violin concertos (1910–11; 1925–26); Jaro a touha (Spring and Longing), symphonic poem (1912); Jtfinskd suita (1923); Cello Concerto (1930); Capriccio for Flute and Small Orch. (1945–46).


Nejedly, J.B. F. (Prague, 1910); J. Bartos, J.B. F. (Prague, 1923); J. Bartos, P. Prazak, and J. Plavec, eds., J.B. F.: Jeho zivotnipout a tvorba:1859–1949 (Prague, 1949); F. Pala, J.B. F. (Prague, 1962).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Foerster, Josef Bohuslav." Baker’s Biographical Dictionary of Musicians. . 24 Jul. 2019 <>.

"Foerster, Josef Bohuslav." Baker’s Biographical Dictionary of Musicians. . (July 24, 2019).

"Foerster, Josef Bohuslav." Baker’s Biographical Dictionary of Musicians. . Retrieved July 24, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.