In its present form, the Czech Republic exists since 1993, but Czech culture already flourished during the Middle Ages. In the following centuries however its development stagnated through Austrian repression; the Czech language shared its lot. During the 17th and 18th century, Czech children used to receive a relatively high level of musical education – possibly to keep them from developing nationalist feelings. Well trained musicians found jobs abroad, among them Zelenka, Mysliveček, Stamitz; Smetana returned after having worked in Sweden for seven years. On the other hand, many foreigners visited Prague (Mozart!), studied there or were in the service of the Czech nobility (Dittersdorf, Gluck). In the 19th century Nationalism broke through and paved the way for the greatest Czech composers: Smetana, Dvořák and Janáček.
The 20th century in short: 1918 independent state of Czechoslovakia – 1939-1945 German occupation – 1948 Communist rule – 1990 freedom and democracy regained – 1993 ‘velvet divorce’ from Slovakia.
The country in the heart of Europe, with the ‘Golden City’ of Prague, is very attractive for music lovers; it has been studded with plaques, monuments and museums of composers and musicians of all kind and the present music life is on a high level.