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Karel Husa

Born: 1921

Died: 2016

Nationality: American

Publisher: AMP

Karel Husa, winner of the 1993 Grawemeyer Award and the 1969 Pulitzer Prize for Music, is an internationally known composer and conductor. An American citizen since 1959, Husa was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia, on August 7, 1921. After completing studies at the Prague Conservatory and, later, the Academy of Music, he went to Paris where he received diplomas from the Paris National Conservatory and the Ecole normale de musique. Among his teachers were Arthur Honegger, Nadia Boulanger, Jaroslav Ridky, and conductor Andre Cluytens. In 1954, Husa was appointed to the faculty of Cornell University where he was Kappa Alpha Professor until his retirement in 1992. He was elected Associate Member of the Royal Belgian Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1974 and has received honorary degrees of Doctor of Music from several institutions, including Coe College, the Cleveland Institute of Music, Ithaca College, and Baldwin Wallace College.

Among numerous honors, Husa has received a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation; awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, UNESCO, and the National Endowment for the Arts; Koussevitzky Foundation commissions; the Czech Academy for the Arts and Sciences Prize; the Czech Medal of Merit, First Class, from President Vaclav Havel; and the Lili Boulanger award. Recordings of his music have been issued on CBS Masterworks, Vox, Everest, Louisville, CRI, Orion, Grenadilla, and Phoenix Records, among others. Husa's String Quartet No. 3 received the 1969 Pulitzer Prize, and his Cello Concerto the 1993 Grawemeyer Award. Music for Prague 1968, with over 7000 performances worldwide, has become part of the modern repertory.

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On February 13, 1990, Husa realized a long-time dream when he conducted the orchestral version of Music for Prague 1968 in Prague. Another well-known work of his, Apotheosis of This Earth, is called by Husa a "manifest" against pollution and destruction. Among other works, Husa has composed The Trojan Women, a ballet commissioned by the Louisville Ballet and Orchestra; Recollections for Wind Quintet and Piano, commissioned to celebrate the 200th anniversary of friendly relations between the United States and Holland and premiered in October 1982 at the Library of Congress in Washington DC; and Concerto for Wind Ensemble, performed in December 1982 and recipient of the first Sudler prize in 1983.

Some of Husa's more recent works include: Cheetah, premiered in March 2007 by the University of Louisville Wind Symphony in a set of performances that included Carnegie Hall; Les Couleurs Fauves, premiered in 1996 by the Northwestern University Wind Ensemble; Violin Concerto (1993), commissioned for the 150th Anniversary of the New York Philharmonic and premiered by concertmaster Glenn Dicterow; String Quartet No. 4 (1991), commissioned for the consortium of Colorado, Alard, and Blair Quartets by the National Endowment for the Arts; Concerto for Orchestra (1986), commissioned by the New York Philharmonic and Zubin Mehta; and two works premiered during the 1987-1988 season, Concerto for Organ, commissioned by the Michelson-Morley Centennial Celebration in Cleveland for Karel Paukert, and Concerto for Trumpet and Orchestra, commissioned by the Chicago Symphony for Adolph Herseth and Sir Georg Solti.

Karel Husa has conducted many major orchestras including those in Paris, London, Prague, Zurich, Hong Kong, Singapore, New York, Boston, and Washington. Among numerous recordings including his own works, he made the first European disc of Bartók's Miraculous Mandarin with the Centi Soli Orchestra in Paris. Every year, Husa visits university campuses to guest-conduct and lecture on his music. He has conducted in all 50 American states. Recent publications include Five Poems for Wind Quintet (50483459) and Sonatina for Flute and Piano (50485074).

His music is published by Associated Music Publishers.

— August 2012

For specific inquiries about this composer, please contact or call 212-254-2100 x 1121.

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