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Homage to Pavel Haas

May 15, 2015

Homage to Pavel Haas

A unique concert will take place at the outstanding new London concert venue – Milton Court Hall Concert Hall, Guildhall School of Music & Drama, 1 Milton Street, Barbican, London EC2Y 9BH. Directed and organised by pianist and Guildhall School of Music & Drama professor Lada Valešová. The concert aims to celebrate music and life of the Czech composer Pavel Haas – who perished in the Holocaust (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pavel_Haas).

It will present the London audience with the UK premiere of Haas’s youthful chamber music piece Fata Morgana, a composition inspired by the love poems of Rabindranath Tagore.

The programme also includes Haas’s seminal song cycles: the Four Songs on Chinese Poetry, which he composed in Terezín (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theresienstadt_concentration_camp), as well as earlier song cycles characterised by their connections to the Moravian folk melodies and jazzy rhythms, as well as the composer’s early interest in Chinese poetry, to which he returned at the final chapter of his life.

Performed by a stellar group of young talents (see below) under direction of Valešová, who will perform all piano parts, this promises to be a one-off opportunity to hear music by Pavel Haas in the lovingly crafted evening.

Pavel Haas (21 June 1899 – 17 October 1944) was a Czech-Jewish composer and pupil of Leoš Janáček. Haas perished in Auschwitz after spending nearly three years of detention in Terezín. His brother Hugo (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hugo_Haas) was one of the most beloved actors of the pre-war Czech cinema.

“Haas, was the only one in the group around Janáček to begin his composition career in the new Czechoslovak state, in the atmosphere of unprecedented influences from the new impulses of the contemporary musical world. So it is not a surprise that more than his older colleagues Haas loosens the ties with the tradition and becomes an enthusiastic believer in new directions, the most experimental and the bravest “Janáčkian”. None of Janáček’s pupils stand as close to their master as Pavel Haas. Haas is not a follower, but a true successor: through Janáček he is connected to the tradition of the Czech music, but with his entire being he is drawn somewhere else than Janáček, and becomes a link between him and the modern Western European music.” Lubomír Peluzzi, musicologist, Haass biographer.

Admission to the concert is free, but booking is essential on haasconcert@gmail.com

Donations towards the CD recording project of the programme will be greatly appreciated. Information on how to donate will be available in the programme on the evening, or alternatively you may wish to contact Lada Valešová for more information on ladavalesova@gmail.com.

Performers

Nicky Spence, tenor: Hailed recently by the Daily Telegraph as ‘a voice of real distinction’, Nicky Spence is fast emerging as one of ‘our finest young singers’. An artist of great integrity, Nicky’s unique skills as a singing actor and the rare honesty in his musicianship are steadfastly earning him a place at the top of the profession.

Anita Watson, soprano: alumni of the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme at the ROH, Covent Garden, Australian soprano Anita Watson is a winner of numerous international singing competitions and has made her debuts in Opera houses such as La Fenice, Royal Opera House, Welsh National Opera and Opera Australia, Sydney. She has performed at the BBC Proms and at the Salzburg Festival.

Anna Starushkevych, mezo-soprano: Ukrainian-born graduate of the GSMD Opera Course, Anna is  already  earning  acclaim  for  her  rich  vocal  timbre  delivered  in  tandem  with  an  intense  and  engaging  performance  persona.  In  March  2012  Anna  became  the  first  mezzo-soprano  to  win  the  Handel  Singing  Competition  in  London,  taking  the  first  prize  (the  Adair  Prize),  the  Audience  Prize  and  the  York  Early  Music  Prize. Anna  has  performed  in  a  number  of  venues  across  Europe  and  has  already  graced  some  of  the  most  prestigious  venues  in  the  U.K.

James Platt, bass: British bass James Platt was educated at Chetham’s School of Music studied at the Royal Academy of Music and on the Opera Course of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.  A member of the Jette Parker Young Artist Programme at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden his roles there this season include Charon Orfeo, Dr Grenvil La traviata and Blansac in Rossini’s La scala di Seta. Conductors with whom he has worked include Valery Gergiev, Sir Colin Davis, Sir Charles Mackerras, Sir Andrew Davis, Paul McCreesh, Laurence Cummings and Sir Mark Elder.

Jubilee Quartet: young and upcoming string quartet under the leadership of Czech violinist Tereza Přívratská was formed in 2006 at the Royal Academy of Music, London. Quartet claim number of important successes to their name: first prize winners of the Val Tidone International Chamber Music Competition 2010 and the St Martin’s Chamber Music Competition 2013, Second prize winners of the Karol Szymanowski International String Quartet Competition 2014, and third prize winners of the Trondheim International Chamber Music Competition 2013. They held a Leverhulme Chamber Music Fellowship at the Academy in 2012-13, the Richard Carne Junior Fellowship at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in 2013-14.

Lada Valešová: pianist and GSMD professor Lada Valešová has impressed reviewers with her recordings of Czech and Slavic music on Avie Records label, Intimate Studies and Dumka.

“ You have to take your hat off to someone who can plan a recital CD with the imaginative insight of investigative musicologist and then execute it with such musicianly sensitivity…. ”  declared the International Piano. She continues her musical and musicological explorations with the in-depth programme of music by Pavel Haas: composer, who’s music she admires. She has performed internationally, and in the UK in venues such as the Wigmore Hall, St. John’s Smith Square, Royal Opera House, as well as at the number of International Music Festivals.

Lada Valešová seeks and creates projects “off the beaten track…distinguished by inspired and modern interpretation ”, as observed by the music magazine Diapason.

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