Karl Haas

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Karl Haas
Karl Haas at WJR
Born(1913-12-06)December 6, 1913
DiedFebruary 6, 2005(2005-02-06) (aged 91)
Occupation(s)Radio host, musicologist, pianist, conductor

Karl Haas (December 6, 1913 – February 6, 2005) was a German-American classical music radio host, known for his sonorous speaking voice, humanistic approach to music appreciation, and popularization of classical music.[1] He was the host of the classical music radio program Adventures in Good Music, which was syndicated to commercial and public radio stations around the world.[2] He also published the book Inside Music.[3] He was a respected musicologist, as well as an accomplished pianist and conductor.[1] In 1996, he received an honorary degree in Doctor of Letters from Oglethorpe University.[4]

Early life and family[edit]

Haas was born in Speyer, Palatinate, Germany in 1913. He studied at the Mannheim Conservatory and earned a doctorate in music literature from Heidelberg University. He studied piano with Artur Schnabel.[1][2] Faced with the rise of Nazism, the Jewish Haas fled Germany for the United States in 1936.[2] He first settled in Detroit, Michigan, then lived in other places, returning to Detroit near the end of his life.[1][5] He and his wife, Trudie, had two sons and one daughter.[6] Trudie died in 1977.[1]

Adventures in Good Music[edit]

Haas began his radio program, Adventures in Good Music, on WJR in Detroit, Michigan in 1959.[2][7] Syndicated broadcasts of the show across the United States began in 1970 on WCLV, a radio station in Cleveland, Ohio. The show was eventually syndicated to commercial and public radio stations around the world and became the world's most widely heard classical music radio program.[5][8]

The theme music for Adventures in Good Music was the second movement from Beethoven's "Pathétique" Sonata (Sonata No. 8 in C minor), performed by Haas live for each program. He started every show with his trademark greeting "Hello everyone", and later entitled a track of his CD with those words. For several years the program had the most listeners of any classical music radio show in the world.[5]

Haas received the Charles Frankel Award of the National Endowment for the Humanities in 1991.[9] President George H. W. Bush presented the award to him at the White House. Haas also twice won the George Foster Peabody Award for excellence in broadcasting.[5] In 1997 he became the first classical music broadcaster to be named to the National Radio Hall of Fame.[7][10]

Haas did not produce any new episodes of the show in the last two years of his life.[1] WCLV continued to syndicate recordings of his previous shows until June 2007. That month, WCLV announced "with great regret" that it would broadcast and syndicate its last Adventures in Good Music program on June 29, 2007.[10] The announcement explained that the number of stations that carried the show had dropped from more than 400 to fewer than 20, which made it unfeasible to continue the program's national distribution.

Most episodes of Adventures in Good Music are not available publicly because of copyright, which is closely held by his family, although three cassettes/CDs have been issued featuring Haas and his commentary: The Romantic Piano, The Story of the Bells, and Song and Dance. In the 1960's Columbia Records released a Karl Haas commercial LP, "How to Listen to a Symphony," on their Columbia Special Products label.


Near the end of his life, Haas returned to Detroit. He died at the age of 91 on 6 February 2005[7] at a hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan.[11] He was survived by his sons, Jeffrey and Andrew, by his daughter, Alyce, and by two grandchildren.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Karl Haas, 91; Radio Host Popularized Classical Music With Knowledge and Humor". The Los Angeles Times. 2005-02-08. p. B-9. Retrieved 2008-11-17.
  2. ^ a b c d Midgette, Anne (2005-02-08). "Karl Haas, Radio Ambassador of Classical Music, Dies at 91". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-11-17.
  3. ^ Inside music/Karl Haas. National Library of Australia. 1999. ISBN 9780732910044. Retrieved 2008-11-17.
  4. ^ "Honorary Degrees Awarded by Oglethorpe University". Oglethorpe University. Archived from the original on March 19, 2015. Retrieved 2015-03-05.
  5. ^ a b c d Holley, Joe (2005-02-08). "Classical Radio Personality Karl Haas, 91, Dies". The Washington Post. p. B06. Retrieved 2008-11-17.
  6. ^ Symons, Craig (2005-02-07). "Rest In Peace Karl Haas". American Choral Directors Association. Retrieved 2011-03-25.
  7. ^ a b c Cox, Elizabeth (2010). "Adventures in Good Music". In Sterling, Christopher H.; O'Dell, Cary; Keith, Michael C. (eds.). The Concise Encyclopedia of American Radio. New York, NY: Routledge. p. 5. ISBN 9781135176846. Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  8. ^ "WCLV – Adventures in Good Music with Karl Haas". Archived from the original on June 24, 2004. Retrieved 2017-05-02.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  9. ^ "TIMELINE: How NEH has fostered the humanities". National Endowment for the Humanities. Archived from the original on 2009-01-17. Retrieved 2008-11-17.
  10. ^ a b "Karl Haas' Adventures in Good Music Broadcasts Come to an End". 104.9 WCLV classical FM. Archived from the original on 2008-02-14. Retrieved 2008-11-17.
  11. ^ "Karl Haas Obituary". Chicago, IL: Legacy.com. Associated Press. 2005. Retrieved 17 April 2019.


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