Pavel Haas

21/06/1899 Brno, 17/10/1944 Osvětim  

Pavel Haas hailed from a Jewish family in Brno. His younger brother Hugo was a renowned theatre and film actor. Pavel Haas studied at the conservatory with Jan Kunc and Vilém Petrželka, following which he attended the master class led by Leoš Janáček. A member of the Moravian Composers Club, he also worked as a music critic and writer. His best-known works include the tragicomic opera The Charlatan, completed in 1938. In the wake of the Nazi invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1939, just like other Jews, he was persecuted by the occupation authorities, before, at the end of 1941, being deported to the Theresienstadt camp-ghetto. Notwithstanding the harsh conditions, Haas continued to compose. Our concert will feature Four Songs to Chinese Poetry (1944), one of the three surviving pieces he wrote in Theresienstadt, which were premiered by his fellow prisoner and later National Theatre soloist Karel Berman. On 16 October 1944, Pavel Haas was transported to Auschwitz, where the next day he was murdered in a gas chamber.