The musical history of the Czech nation over some three centuries has often been something of a family affair. The dedication of several generations of a single family to performing, teaching and composing has been a phenomenon of Czech musical life from the seventeenth century to the present day. In the eighteenth century the most famous representatives of this tendency, largely because of their impact on German music, were the Stamitz and Benda families. While there was less of a trend towards migration in the romantic era, distinguished families of musicians were still a vital part of Czech culture, and, spanning the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, is the most famous of these musical dynasties: the Dvora?ks and the Suks.
The first notable Suk in this distinguished line was the composer, Josef. Born in the Bohemian village of Krecovice, he shared a similar musical background to many provincial musicians - learning from his father who was also the local teacher and choirmaster. The climax of Suk’s musical studies was the year spent between 1891 and 1892 as a pupil of Antoni?n Dvora?k at the Prague Conservatory. After this, Suk divided his career between professional violin playing – mainly as second violin in the Czech Quartet – and composing. If some of the works of the 1890s show affinities with his teacher, Dvor?a?k, there were numerous indicators of a clear personal style in which minor key melody, a fine ear for instrumental sonority and a tendency toward melancholy are prevalent characteristics.