Bilingual in German and English, Haas was born in 1954 in Charlotte, North Carolina but raised in Vienna where he received much of his general education and most of his musical training. He studied piano at the Municipal Conservatory and the Vienna Music Academy (now Music University). In addition to German and English, Haas speaks Italian, Spanish and French. He has lived in London since 1977, the location of his production company Coralfox, which has also had a subsidiary presence in Vienna since 2002.
Michael Haas offers more than 35 years’ of experience as a recording and executive producer. From 1977 to 2000 he worked for Universal Music Group’s London/Decca and the Sony Classical labels. His projects have been recognised with a number of major recording awards, including four Grammys and the first ever Grammy Latinos. While at London/Decca, he spent more than a decade as producer for Georg Solti before joining Sony to work with Claudio Abbado and the Berlin Philharmonic. In 1994, he was appointed Vice President of A&R at Sony Classical in New York. Since 2000 he has continued to produce recordings released by major and independent labels, including Deutsche Grammophon, EMI and Opera Rara.
During his years at London/Decca and Sony, he produced prize-winning recordings with major classical artists including conductors such as Rudolf Barshai, Riccardo Chailly, Christoph von Dohnanyi, Mark Elder, Valery Gergiev, Bernard Haitink, Hans Werner Henze, Kirill Kondrashin, Zubin Mehta, Simon Rattle and Mstislav Rostropovich, instrumentalists like Vladimir Ashkenazy, Daniel Barenboim, Nick van Bloss, Lynn Harrell, Radu Lupu, Alicia de Larrocha, András Schiff, Maxim Vengerov and Pinchas Zukerman and singers including Roberto Alagna, Cecilia Bartoli, Hildegard Behrens, Barbara Bonney, Ian Bostridge, Monserat Caballé, Plácido Domingo, Renée Fleming, Mirella Freni, Angela Gheorghiu, Matthias Goerne, Sumi Jo, Kiri Te Kanawa, Christa Ludwig, Jessye Norman, Luciano Pavarotti, Lucia Popp, Samuel Ramey, Anna Tomowa-Sintow, Joan Sutherland and Bryn Terfel.
His most highly regarded work has been in the recovery of music lost during the Nazi era in Europe, including London/Decca’s recording series Entartete Musik of works thought lost, forgotten or destroyed. The series won a number of major awards and launched many young artists.
Recognition of Haas’s work as recording producer has been confirmed by his contributions to the Cambridge Companion to Conducting (2003) and the Cambridge Companion to Recorded Music (2009). He has also held seminars for aspiring classical recording producers at the Banff Arts Centre in Canada and the Music University in Hamburg.
Press coverage has been extensive on Mr. Haas’ work with "Entartete Musik" as well as on his more established activities such as his multi-award winning recordings with Renée Fleming of “Rusalka”, “Thais”, “Daphne” and “Strauss Heroines”. In December 1999, the “London Evening Standard” cited Michael Haas in their "Millennium List of London’s 300 most prominent Movers and Shakers".
From 2002 to 2010, Haas continued the recovery of composers lost during the years of the Third Reich with the exhibition series Musik des Aufbruchs (Music in Transition) as Music Curator at the Jewish Museum in Vienna. He curated dedicated exhibitions on the lives and works of Hans Gál, Egon Wellesz, Erich Zeisl, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Hanns Eisler and Ernst Toch. The exhibitions were well reviewed internationally with the Korngold exhibition clocking some 45,000 visitors during its half-year run. He has also advised on large exhibitions at Vienna’s Jewish Museum including Quasi una Fantasie, Die Juden und die Musikstadt Wien (Vienna, Jews and City of Music, also shown at the Yeshiva University Museum in New York, 2004), Mahleriana – Vom Werden einer Ikone (Mahleriana – the making of an Icon) and the Jewish Museum’s exhibition on Lorenzo da Ponte for the Mozart year in 2005. He was editor of the accompanying exhibition catalogues as well as Vienna’s Jewish Museum Year Book in 2008, which featured a selection of papers presented at the Salzburg Easter Festival’s conference Music and Resistance. In recognition of his exhibition on the composer Hanns Eisler, Haas was awarded the Theodor Koerner Prize in 2009 for ‘cultural excellence by the City of Vienna.
Now independent, Haas spends much of his time focusing on the recovery of music lost during the years of the Third Reich. He is director of the Jewish Music Institute’s International Committee of Suppressed Music, which is based at SOAS, University of London. He is also honorary research associate at the Department of Jewish and Hebrew Studies at University College London (UCL). He is co-chairman of ExilArte, based at the Music University of Vienna and acts as consultant with the City of Vienna’s prestigious Music Collection, advising on the recovery of Austria’s exile composer estates. He is also recording producer for ExilArte’s series of Exile Austro-Czech-Hungarian composers released on Vienna’s Gramola label.
He has organised and chaired many international conferences and is an active supporter of Musica Reanimata in Berlin, Les Voix etouffée in Paris and the Orel Foundation in Los Angeles. He was director of the Musica Prohibita festival of “Entartete Musik” in Barcelona in 2000 and principal advisor for Dutch Radio’s Saturday Concerts series at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam during the 2004/5 season which involved the planning of 44 concerts focused on Music that was lost during the years of the Third Reich.
He has been invited to speak at numerous events, and universities such as Columbia University’s Jewish Theological Institute and held seminars in Hamburg’s Music University, the Music University of Vienna, the University of Virginia and the Lincoln Centre Festival. In 2009 Haas was asked to participate in a Festival of music banned by the Third Reich in Taipei. Subsequent speaking engagements include the University in Johannesburg and UCLA in Los Angeles.
In 1997 and 1998, he was consultant during the earliest planning stages of The Milken Family Foundation’s recording series, ‘The Jewish Experience in American Music’, now released on the Naxos label. In 2002, the London Jewish Cultural Centre presented him with the coveted Music Award, an award he received alongside Roman Polanski for his film The Pianist and Steven Spielberg for lifetime achievement. From 2002, Haas received the David Uri Fellowship for five consecutive years in recognition of his work and research. In 2010, he was invited by David Pountney to deliver the opening address to the Mieczysław Weinberg Conference at the Bregenz Festival. Yale University Press published Haas’s Forbidden Music: The Jewish Composers Banned by the Nazis in April 2013 and he has recently appeared at London’s Southbank Centre, as part of The Rest is Noise Festival.