Irvine: Joseph Cadek brings music to Chattanooga

Harold Cadek

When Joseph Ottokar Cadek, a brilliant young violinist, boarded a ship for America in 1892, he began an adventure that would bring a musical culture to enrich the lives of Chattanoogans for decades to come.

Joseph was born in 1868 in Prague, Bohemia, an important music capital of Europe, where the best performing artists, composers and teachers of the day gathered at its conservatory. Excited by the rich musical life of Prague, young Joseph was admitted to the conservatory at age 11. He excelled, and by the time he graduated at age 17, the young violinist was performing with Prague orchestras under the baton of major conductors including Gustav Mahler.

Following service in the Austrian army, he began his musical career as concertmaster of the Lucerne, Switzerland, Symphony. His first stop after crossing the Atlantic Ocean at age 24 was Boston, then the musical capital of the United States, where he performed as the solo violinist in Bosmer's Orchestra.