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In 1936, the Haas family moved from Germany to Detroit, and immediately, he became a part of Detroit's vast musical world. He taught piano lessons, gave recitals, and founded Chamber Music Society of Detroit. For four years in the late 1960s, he was president of the Interlochen Academy of the Arts in northern Michigan. In 1950, radio beckoned, and for WWJ, he began a weekly program in which he previewed concerts by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Nine years later, at the behest of station WJR, he developed the first Adventures program which was to be a weekly venture. It proved to be so successful that before long, it was a daily program.
A native of Detroit, in that summer of 1959, I was a young wife, expecting our first child. I'd been brought up with classical music on the radio, compliments of the NBC Symphony, Metropolitan Opera and other musical performing groups. I'd studied music in some form or other for my entire educational lifetime: piano, organ, voice, French horn. At any rate, I spent most of that summer flat on my back in my bed, as I'd somehow managed to contract a kidney infection that proved stronger than any medicines known at the time and it just would not go away! So I lay on my bed, gazing at the back yard through my bedroom window and listening to WJR, my radio station of choice.
I had no idea how this new program would, over time, change my life. I had been listening to his orchestra previews on the radio since their inception. In fact, while I was attending college in 1954-55, I attended many concerts of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and the Chamber Music Society of Detroit. That season Karl Haas was president of the Society. I know I'd often heard him performing on the radio with Mischa Mischakoff, concertmaster of the Detroit Orchestra. Another of his good friends, the other Mischa of the time -- Kottler -- was pianist in the orchestra and a famous teacher, as well. Perhaps his most well-known student was Ruth Laredo.
Who could have known, that summer of 1959, that thirty years later, I would become a classical music radio announcer, and thirteen years after that, music writer and reviewer, due in part to the wonderful musical education I acquired through listening to Mr Haas. In fact, I've even been one of the 'Considered Opinions' reviewers on my favorite radio station, WCLV in Cleveland, where I was once an announcer, as well.
Copyright © 29 June 2007
Kelly Ferjutz, Bantry, Ireland