Hans Krása

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Hans Krása biography

Hans Krása was composer of Brundibár, one of the celebrated musical work associated with Terezín concentration camp. Krása was born of mixed German/Czech parentage and studied at German Music Academy in Prague. Alexander Zemlinsky was his mentor at Conservatory and Academy, encouraging interest in Mahler and early Schoenberg.

In 1920s he was influenced by French music, particularly Debussy, Ravel, Les Six and Stravinsky. Krása travelled to Paris to study with Roussel, only staying a few months there and at Berlin Conservatory.

His 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 Krása did not escape from Prague before German occupation in 1939 and was therefore deported as a Jew to Terezín in 1942. In a revised version his opera Brundibár received 55 performances at Terezín and was immortalised on a Nazi propoganda film during inspection by International Red Cross Committee.

His compositions from last years included Overture for Small Orchestra and Three Songs for baritone, clarinet, viola and cello. Krása was executed in Auschwitz concentration camp in 1944.

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