When Soviet Troops invaded Prague, Czechoslovakia, in August 1968, composer Karel Husa was so moved that he wrote Music for Prague 1968 for his beloved native city in just seven weeks. Since its premiere, this work has been performed more than 10,000 times around the world and will once again be performed by the University of Michigan Symphony Band in Hill Auditorium 8 p.m. Oct. 11. This concert will honor the composers 80th birthday.
Husa will be present for the performance and will give a pre-concert lecture in the Kessler Room of the Michigan League at 7 p.m. Both events are free and open to the public.
Husas appearance in Ann Arbor brings to the University a total of three Pulitzer Prize-winning composers at one time. The other two are William Bolcom, the Ross Lee Finney Distinguished University Professor of Music, and Leslie Bassett, the Schools Albert A. Stanley Distinguished University Professor Emeritus of Music. Bassett will conduct some of his own works at 8 p.m. Oct. 6 in a concert by Brave New Works in Britton Recital Hall at Bolcoms From the Diary of Sally Hemings will be a featured event in February as part of the University Musical Societys 2002 Season.
An American citizen since 1959, Husa was born in Prague in August 1921. His String Quartet No. 3 received the 1969 Pulitzer Prize, but it is Music for Prague 1968 with its numerous performances that has become part of the modern repertory. It was not until 1990, after more than 40 years in exile, that the composer was able to conduct the Czechoslovak premiere of his Music for Prague 1968, a concert that was broadcast nationwide by the Czech radio and television networks.
The concert of Oct. 11 also will include La Procession du Rocio by Turina, William Byrd Suite by Jacob, and Fantasy Variations by Grantham. Prof. Nancy Ambrose-King will be the featured soloist in Concertino for Oboe and Chamber Winds by Von Weber.