Czech Republic became a separate state alongside the Slovak Republic in 1992, after the break-up of Czechoslovakia, which was a Soviet communist satellite state since 1948. In earlier centuries, Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia were the main countries in what is now the Czech Republic, but then were part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, ruled from Vienna by the Hapsburg dynasty.

In the 18th century, enormous numbers of able musicians and composers left Bohemia and Moravia to work in Vienna, or in other capital cities of Europe. In the 19th century, a growing nationalism attracted native composers to stay in their own country, and institutions such as the Prague Conservatory of Music were founded. In 1890, Dvorak taught at the Prague Conservatory. Smetana was another famous Czech composer with very strong nationalist feelings expressed in his music, as in Ma Vlast - My Country.  Another Czech, Gustav Mahler was born in Kaliste, Bohemia, but his style and career were totally Austro-Germanic centred on Vienna and international in scope.