Balatka, Hans


Born in Moravia. Began his musical studies as a choir boy. Studied harmony, composition and singing in Vienna. On account of the Revolution of 1848, he came to America and settled in Milwaukee, where in 1851 he founded the Milwaukee Musikverein (Musical Society) of which he was conductor for nine years. In 1860, he was called to Chicago, as conductor of the Philharmonic Society. After the great fire of 1871 he went back to Milwaukee and was afterward for a time in St. Louis, but returned to Chicago and remained there until his death. During the latter part of his life he organized the Liederkranz Society and the Mozart Club and was also conductor of the Chicago Symphony Society. Mr. Balatka was a fine performer on the doublebass, violoncello, violin, guitar and piano and was also an excellent composer. Beside about twenty orchestral works, quartets and choruses and many songs, he wrote a Festival Cantata, and a double chorus for male voices, The Power of Song, which received first prize at the Cincinnati Saengerfest in 1856. Mr. Balatka did much to promote a taste for good music in Chicago and vicinity. He also conducted numerous musical festivals in different parts of the United States.