The Hugo Kauder Society’s mission is to foster awareness of the music composed by Hugo Kauder (1888-1972). This includes making the scores available to the public by digitizing the manuscripts, enabling performances and recordings of the music for the benefit of the general public, working closely with archives to ensure proper conservation of documents, and to give young and emerging musicians a chance at performing premieres of Kauder music. The Society also encourages and supports musicologists in their efforts to research and write about Hugo Kauder and his contemporaries.
2014:The Hugo Kauder Society invited the Hugo Kauder Trio from Slovakia on a concert tour of New York, Connecticut, and Washington DC. The Trio consists of Ivan Danko (oboe), Ladislav Fanzowitz (piano), and Robert Lakatos (viola). Ivan Danko was the winner of the 2009 Hugo Kauder International Competition for Woodwinds.
This year, we will completed and started implementing the Strategic Plan.
The Hugo Kauder Society began its search for an opera company to mount a production of the Merlin opera.
This was the first year that the Hugo Kauder Society is participating in the Great Give fundraiser. We hope to make this a regular giving option, and to attract new donors’ interest.
2013:The Hugo Kauder Society (HKS) successfully mounted a large opera production which culminated with a performance in New Haven. Merlin, Hugo Kauder’s only opera, was staged in June at the Trinity Lutheran Church, engaging two musical directors, a stage director, six lead singers, 13 orchestra members, 17 choir members, a light and projection artist, and numerous other professionals. The performance attracted over 200 audience members to hear an almost 2 hour opera. For the opera’s funding, the HKS was able to receive grants from the State of Connecticut as well as from private foundations. We also launched a Kickstarter campaign that reached its goal.
At the end of 2013, the Hugo Kauder Society, with the help of a grant by the Community Foundation, could hire a professional consultant to assist with embarking on its first Strategic Plan. Participating in a “presentation contest” at the Yale School of Management (SOM), the HKS was able to interest a group of SOM students to work with us and the consultant to leverage the grant and resources in order to make the most out of the strategic plan.
Program: the Society is constantly in search for partner organizations to mount classical music events, including competitions and concerts. This is a perpetual quest, as each event requires different needs to be met. Program: It is a challenge to find partner organizations with the necessary resources to mount the opera Merlin. While it is an amazing piece of music with a story lends itself to a wide audience, the libretto is in the German language. It will require a creative solution to convey the story line to the audience without taking away from the musical and visual performance on stage. Digitization: It is part of the Society’s mission to ultimately have all of Kauder’s music digitized. This requires skill, time and funds. Management: the Society, in conjunction with its current strategic planning process, will be searching for new and active board members who are versed in the field of music, but can also assist with management, development, fundraising, audience development, etc. Finances: the Society needs to cover the costs of running its programming. This is a challenge year after year, with funds coming from various sources. As our programming changes every year, the funding sources must partially be reinvented each year to find the matching grants and funders.
In addition to our President’s statement, I would like to add that the Hugo Kauder Society, along with preserving and promoting of the music of Hugo Kauder - part of the wealth of creativity and culture that was disenfranchised by the Nazis -, is also relevant to today’s needs in promoting and encouraging young performers and serving our communities.
Our competitions are slated for performers under 35 whose careers are about to launch and need the encouragement and funding that we award. But beyond the cash awards and accolades, we form bonds with our competition participants (not only the winners!) following their careers and providing other opportunities for them. This is evidenced by our sponsoring the first professional recording of the Euclid Quartet. They had won the prize in the Quartet Competition in 2004 and had been presented with an opportunity to perform in a commercial venue in NY. Subsequently, we spoke of their next steps and sponsored their debut recording. We also have leant our continued support for other participants in the forms of paid appearances, recommendations, and encouragement. This fall we are sponsoring a tour of our 2009 prize winning oboist, Ivan Danko.
Unique to our competitions is the aura of care and celebration. Our participants are cared for by local families, have their special needs attended to, and are feted with lunches, dinners, and the attitude that they are our treasured guests. No one leaves a loser. Our distinguished judges prepare detailed invaluable constructive criticisms for each participant which are typed and sent to them. Indeed, the informal discussions between the judges and participants in the dinners alone is their prize. For some, the opportunity to meet and perform for these esteemed musicians is a lifetime event.
Our community efforts have been in supporting the youngest of musicians. We have partnered with the local music school, where the competitions are held, and presented scholarships and student sponsorships. Our events are open to the public where there is an opportunity for the schools to attract more supporters and donors. Our contracted services for recording, video, catering, etc. are from local suppliers and young entrepreneurs eager for the professional opportunities.
The Hugo Kauder Society was created to promote the music of the Austrian composer, Hugo Kauder (1888 – 1972) whose music was disenfranchised by the Nazis and whose career was stymied by his unfashionable adherence and enhancement of tonality. I was privileged to have been a student of Kauder’s in the 1960’s and have remained devoted to ensuring the legacy of this magical, personal, and beautiful music ever since.
We have had our challenges. Kauder’s published works were destroyed during the Second World War with only a few subsequently published during his lifetime. His manuscripts were all handwritten and did not enjoy the convenience of today’s digital technologies. His notation, with its lack of bar lines, was difficult for musicians to read and play in ensemble. His invention and use of the Double Scale (mirror images of ascending and descending major scale) required musicians to have an open mind and intelligence. Kauder’s own pedagogy was hampered by his stuttering and passion for his beliefs. All of this resulted in only a small circle of adherents and repository of published works.
As a Society, we realized that first and foremost we had to make his music accessible. Our main goals were to digitize the major works and to promote their performances. With generous donations and support from the Kauder family a good deal of the archives have been installed in renowned institutions, digitized and are now available through commercial and online media. We have held 8 international competitions employing well know judges and cycling through Kauder’s instrumentations for young musicians in which both standard and Kauder repertoire are featured. These have all resulted in a number of commercial recordings, dissertations and renewed interest in this Gem of the 20th Century.
Most recently, the Society sponsored a concert version of Kauder’s opera, Merlin. The music and libretto by his longtime friend, Rudolf Pannwitz, reflects the magic, mysticism, and fantasy of mythical times remarkably popular today. The roles of this production were filled through another competition event and resulted in an incredibly gifted and enthusiastic cast. Our next steps with Merlin are to encourage a known opera company to incorporate it in its season.
Indeed, Merlin was a big effort and was a complicated project. But it was only part of the Society’s goal of moving onto the next level of Kauder’s works to be promoted. Up to this point, we have focused on the smaller works of Kauder featuring solo sonatas, chamber music, and his songs. But, there are also larger orchestral works which include five symphonies and a Passacaglia which I had the privilege of hearing a performance of recorded by Ernest Levy with the Basel Radio Orchestra in the late 1960s. These works are beautiful and not only demonstrate Kauder’s beauty of melody but his genius in orchestration.
Moving forward, we need to digitize the scores of the symphonies and recover the recordings made of them. We need to encourage orchestras, their conductors, and boards to look into these gems and further enrich concert life filling in the gap that history has created. We are working with arts consultants to help us in determining strategies in building our Board and discovering additional resources.
The Hugo Kauder Society is located in New Haven, and here is where most events take place. In terms of audience, our programming attracts visitors from the Greater New Haven area, and as far as New York and Massachusetts. We also hold concerts and auditions in New York City. In 2014, we organized a concert tour of the Slovakian Hugo Kauder Trio that will included the New York, New Haven, and Washington DC area. Competition submissions come from all over the United States and from abroad.
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Greater New Haven is home to a thriving arts community that includes theatre, music, dance and the visual arts. It is invested in its museums, historic preservation and the celebration of its members’ ethnic and cultural diversity.
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