Like so many other band composers, Julius Fučik was born into a musical family in Prague, Czechoslovakia (then known as Bohemia) in 1872. His principal instrument was bassoon and he studied composition under Antonin Dvorák. Fučik joined a regimental Austro-Hungarian band while he was in his late teens and played with the group until he was in his 20s. He then returned to Prague and then on to Agram where he began play with the New German Theater Orchestra and is known to have composed trio music for a small wind group he co-founded. He also began conducting area groups.
Fučik rejoined the military in 1897 when he became conductor of the 86th Infantry Regimental Band in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia. While there he continued to compose, including his familiar “Entry of the Gladiators” which is more commonly associated with circus music here in America. It is also known in the United States as “Thunder and Blazes.” Fučik continued to conduct military bands until his retirement around 1913. He married and moved to Berlin where he continued to conduct and compose. However he was taken ill in Berlin and died in 1916 at the age of 44 of an unknown illness. He is buried in Vinohrady Cemetery in Prague.
In all, he is known to have composed over 400 works, with “Entry of the Gladiators” and “Florentiner” perhaps being the most familiar to American listeners.
Two examples of Fučik’s work: Entry of the Gladiators (YouTube) and Florentiner (YouTube).