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Hans Krása

Hans Krasa Photo © Jewish Museum Prague
1899 - 1944


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Hans Krása was composer of Brundibár, most celebrated musical work associated with Terezín concentration camp * Born of mixed German/Czech parentage * Studied at German Music Academy in Prague * Zemlinsky was his mentor at Conservatory and Academy, encouraging interest in Mahler and early Schoenberg * In 1920s influenced by French music, particularly Debussy, Ravel, Les Six and Stravinsky * Travelled to Paris to study with Roussel, only staying a few months there and at Berlin Conservatory * Bohemian lifestyle inhibited active composition, so ouput was small * Successes included Symphony taken up by Koussevitzky in Boston, and prize-winning opera Verlobung im Traum, conducted at German Theatre in Prague by Szell * Theatrical collaborations with Czech playright Adolf Hoffmeister, including children's opera Brundibár (1938) which adopted a light folk-orientated vein * After Munich Pact did not escape from Prague before German occupation in 1939 * Deported as a Jew to Terezín in 1942 * Revised version of Brundibár received 55 performances at Terezín and was immortalised on a Nazi propoganda film during inspection by International Red Cross Committee * Compositions from last years include Overture for Small Orchestra and Three Songs for baritone, clarinet, viola and cello * Executed in Auschwitz concentration camp in 1944

Works by Hans Krása include:
Theme and Variations for String Quartet (1936)
Brundibár (1938/43) Children's opera
Passacaglia and Fugue for String Trio (1943)
Overture for Small Orchestra (1943-44)
"[Brundibár] carries with it a timely reminder not only of the tragic oppression that many faced, but also the fact that beauty can rise out of the worst circumstances." — Opera for Youth
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