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Pavel Haas
Birth: Jun. 21, 1899
Death: Oct. 18, 1944

Composer. A leading Czech musician of the 20th Century's inter-war period. His style united disparate influences - Neoclassicism, Moravian folk tunes, jazz, synagogue music - into a cohesive and exciting whole. Haas was born in Brno, Moravia (now part of the Czech Republic), into a family of Jewish merchants. From 1919 to 1922 he studied at the Brno Conservatory while also taking master classes with composer Leos Janacek, who arranged performances of his early works: "Six Songs in Folk Tone" (1919), the "Scherzo Triste" for orchestra (1921), and "Fata Morgana" (1923) for tenor and chamber ensemble. The String Quartet No. 2 (1925), with an added set of drums in its finale, revealed him as a major talent. A painstaking, self-critical artist, Haas refused to publish most of his work and until his late 30s he earned a living running his father's shoe store. In 1935 he married Sona Jacobsonova, a well-to-do Catholic physician who insisted he devote himself to composition. This freed him to write the famous Piano Suite (1935) and his masterpiece, the tragicomic opera "The Charlatan" (1938), which was an outstanding success at its Brno premiere. It brought him the only popular acclaim he enjoyed in his lifetime. By then Hitler's designs on Czechoslovakia were clear and Haas's next opus, the String Quartet No. 3 (1938), is full of unresolved foreboding. A few months later the Nazis fully occupied the country and his music was banned. In 1940, just before he was banished to Prague's Jewish Ghetto, Haas divorced his wife to spare her and their daughter further persecution, a melancholy act that nevertheless saved their lives. Arriving at the Theresienstadt (Terezin) concentration camp in November 1941, he was nearly broken in spirit and indifferent to the remarkable cultural scene that was beginning to flourish among the inmates there. One of them, composer-pianist Gideon Klein, stirred Haas out of his apathy and encouraged him to write again. Of the eight known works he completed at Theresienstadt, three survive. They include the cycle "Four Songs to Words of Chinese Poetry" (1944) and the dynamic "Study for Strings" (1943), commissioned by conductor Karel Ancerl for his camp orchestra. A performance of this piece, in the composer's presence, was filmed for the notorious Nazi propaganda film "The Fuhrer Presents a Town To the Jews" (1944). On October 16, 1944, Haas was deported to Auschwitz and died in its gas chamber two days later. Today Haas is inevitably grouped with Klein, Hans Krasa, and Viktor Ullmann as a "Theresienstadt Composer" but his music can stand well enough on its own, without the tragic historical associations. His Symphony for Large Orchestra, left unfinished in 1941, was completed by Zdenek Zouhar and premiered in 1994. "The Charlatan" was successfully revived in 1999. Haas was the brother of actor Hugo Haas, who escaped the Nazis and had a successful career in Hollywood. (bio by: Bobb Edwards) 
 
Burial:
Auschwitz Death Camp
Oswiecim
Małopolskie, Poland
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: José L Bernabé Tronchoni
Record added: Jul 23, 2006
Find A Grave Memorial# 15017843
Pavel Haas
Added by: José L Bernabé Tronchoni
 
Pavel Haas
Added by: Bobb Edwards
 
Pavel Haas
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Creative Commons
 
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