Pavel Haas was one of the many composers deported to Terezin during World War II. Today he is known essentially for his song cycles and string quartets.
Pavel Haas was born in to a well-to-do family and studied music in Brno. His compositions reveal a variety of influences: Schoenberg, Stravinsky and jazz, along with his teacher, Leoš Janáček, evident in the repetitive use of short melodic and rhythmic motifs, dissonance and polytonality.
Haas was proud of his roots in the musical culture of Bohemia and East Moravia. His music reflects his affinity with Hebrew music and Czech patriotic songs, following in the footsteps of his predecessors, who contributed to the revival of Czech folk music.
He was banned from composing by the Nazis because of his Jewish background, then finally deported to the Terezin concentration camp.
Five landmark dates in the life of Pavel Haas:
• 1919-1921: studied composition at the Brno Conservatory
• 1921-1923: studied under Leoš Janáček
• 1922: won an award in Janáček's composition masterclass
• 1941: deported to the Terezin concentration camp
• 1944: deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp
Six key works by Pavel Haas:
• 1920: String Quartet No. 1 Op. 3
• 1925: String Quartet No. 2 Op. 7
• 1942: Al S’fod for male chorus
• 1943: Study for string orchestra
• 1944: Four Songs on Chinese Poetry for baritone and piano
• 1944: Symphony (unfinished)