He studied conducting with Jean Fournet, Eugène Bigot and André Cluytens. After finishing his courses in conducting at École Normale de Musique de Paris and at Conservatoire de Paris he embarked on a career during which he has conducted the world's leading orchestras and participated in many major projects. He divided his time between composing and conducting, taking an ever more active part in Parisian and international musical life. His First String Quartet marked a big step on the composer's path to the realm of international music: the Quartet received the 1950 Lili Boulanger Award and the 1951 award at the music festival in Bilthoven in the Netherlands. It has since also been performed on many other occasions, e.g., at the festival of the International Society for Contemporary Music in Brussels (1950), festivals in Salzburg (1950), Darmstadt (1951), and the Netherlands (1952) as well as at various concerts in Germany, France, Sweden, England, Switzerland, Australia and the United States.
Other compositions written by Karel Husa during his stay in Paris include Divertimento for String Orchestra, Concertino for Piano and Orchestra, Évocations de Slovaquie, Musique d'amateurs, Portrait for String Orchestra, First Symphony, First Sonata for Piano, and Second String Quartet. Throughout this period, the composer's underlying preoccupation and interest was style, which was primarily influenced by Vítězslav Novák, Leoš Janáček, Béla Bartók and Igor Stravinsky. He is probably best known for his Music for Prague 1968, a work in memory of the 1968 Soviet bloc invasion of Czechoslovakia. His String Quartet No. 3 won the Pulitzer Prize in 1969.
Husa was the 1993 recipient of the Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition presented by the University of Louisville for his Concerto for Cello and Orchestra. From 1954 until 1992 he was a professor at Cornell University and lecturer at Ithaca College from 1967 to 1986. Composers who studied with Husa include Steven Stucky, Christopher Rouse, John S. Hilliard, Christopher Kaufman, David Conte, and Byron Adams.
Husa resided in Apex, North Carolina in his last years. He was a National Patron of Delta Omicron, an international professional music fraternity. The University of Massachusetts Amherst Wind Ensemble held a performance at the Fine Arts Center Concert Hall celebrating Karel Husa's 90th birthday on October 21, 2011. On January 16, 2012, he was presented with an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Louisville. He died on December 14, 2016. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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