Published: Sept. 24, 2013

Musical tribute to celebrate Karl Haas' 100th birthday

Contact(s): Bob Hoffman Wharton Center office: (517) 884-3115 bob.hoffman@whartoncenter.com

Join acclaimed composer and musician Jeff Haas and his quintet for a special night of jazz, classical and world music celebrating the 100th birthday of internationally known radio host Karl Haas.

Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Sept. 27 online at whartoncenter.com, by calling 1-800-WHARTON or in person at the Auto-Owners Ticket Office at Wharton Center.

There will be arrangements of Karl Haas’ favorite works by Beethoven and Schumann, Cole Porter, Thelonious Monk and more. There will also be engaging stories about how Karl, a German Jewish immigrant, changed the musical landscape of the Motor City and the rest of the country during the 44-year run of Adventures in Good Music, the most popular and widely distributed classical program in the history of radio. The elder Haas remains the only classical music host to be inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame. Karl was one of two radio personalities to receive two Peabody awards, the other being Edward R. Murrow.

Jeff's music is known nationally, and also came to the attention of legendary jazz pianist Dave Brubeck who said, "In combining these great musical traditions, [Haas] has created a soulful music that transcends ethnic barriers.”

The Detroit Free Press referred to Jeff Haas’ recording, The Bridge Lives, as "extending backward to his familial and religious roots and extended forward to his burgeoning career as a jazz musician. Haas’ blend of jazz, classical and Jewish music offers a path lit with originality." Iconoclast jazz master Ahmad Jamal praised Jeff for "the depth of his compositional effort and the inspired use of the universal language of music.”

“I grew up in a culturally rich home during the heyday of the Motor City,” explains Haas. “But my father was very strict and would not allow any music in our home other than classical music. He even told me that rock and roll would ruin the needle on our stereo! In fact, the first and only jazz record I found in our home was hidden under my sister’s mattress. But who could find fault growing up with opportunities to meet the likes of Igor Stravinsky, Leonard Bernstein and Isaac Stern.”

The younger Haas heard his first Motown Revue at the Michigan State Fairgrounds as an early teen and snuck into Baker’s Keyboard Lounge a few years later to check out jazz icon Ahmad Jamal. And despite his father’s strict resistance to anything not classical, Jeff’s musical path was altered forever. Jeff went on to study at Detroit’s famed Cass Technical High School and Berlin’s Hochschule für Musik (Academy of Music). He has received commissions for original music from regional and national organizations and was twice selected as one of a dozen national composers to receive the prestigious New Works Creation fellowship from Chamber Music America in NYC.

From the archives