Robert Kurka, classical music composer
Robert Frank Kurka
(December 22, 1921 – December 12, 1957) was an American composer, who also taught and conducted his own works.
Kurka was born in Cicero, Illinois. He was mostly self-taught, though he studied for short periods under Darius Milhaud and Otto Luening, receiving his M.A. degree from Columbia University in 1948. He held teaching positions at City College of New York, Queens College and Dartmouth College. He is probably best known for the instrumental suite The Good Soldier Schweik, published in 1956, and the subsequent opera of the same name, written just before his death and first performed at the New York City Opera on April 23, 1958. The opera's orchestration was completed by Hershey Kay. The work, based on an antiwar novel by Jaroslav Hasek, drew comparisons to the compositions of Kurt Weill, especially for its satirical, ironic bent and incorporation of popular styles. Kurka also wrote 2 symphonies, 5 string quartets, 6 violin sonatas, and other works for piano, voice, and chorus. He died of leukemia on December 12, 1957, in New York.
Symphony No. 2, Op. 24
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