On February 21, 2006, this world lost a great mentor and friend whose presence had touched the lives of many and whose life was the stuff of legend.


Hugo Husz was born to Ioan and Clara Husz on January 26, 1934 in Timisoara, Romania, the second of three sons.  He began studying violin already at the age of 5 and attended the Timisoara Conservatory of Music, later transferring to the Bucharest Conservatory of Music and becoming the favorite student of world-renowned symphony orchestra conductor Constantin Silvestri, who was teaching there at the time.  When Silvestri fled the country, he left all of his musical belongings to Husz, having said of his musical talent that he was “a rare flower”.


Husz won the George Enescu National Scholarship Stipendium in Bucharest in 1956 and finished his degree of Diplomat in Arts with a speciality in Symphony Orchestra Conducting from the Bucharest Conservatory of Music in 1958.  He held his debut concert on April 7, 1958 at the Romanian Athenaeum in Bucharest.


Shortly thereafter, he took on the position of Music Director and Conductor of the Arad Symphony in Romania, where he conducted under the stage name of Jan Hugo Huss until 1968.  In that year, he was awarded the Cultured Merits Medal by the Romanian Government, personally presented by the president.  After his tenure in Arad, Huss transferred to the Targu-Mures Symphony, where he conducted for just a short time before he was granted permission by Romania’s communist government to attend a music festival in Paris.  Huss never returned.


From Paris, Huss found his way to Munich, Germany, where he spent two years trying to organize his immigration to the United States, a life-long dream.  While in Munich, he was Principal Guest Conductor of the Gunthe Symphony.  Finally, early in 1970, he arrived in Chicago.  Once there, Huss sought out an old acquaintance from Arad, Mirella Regis.  The two were married on August 1, 1970; one daughter, Nicole, was born in 1974.


Having seen that the implications of a career in music are quite different in America than in Europe, Huss decided to go back to school.  He earned his Master of Business Administration at the Roosevelt University of Chicago in 1977 and had the insight to also take supplementary courses in computer technology.


Music, however, remained his first love, and in 1979 the family moved to Guadalajara, Mexico, when he was offered the position of Titular Director and Principal Conductor of the Guadalajara Symphony Orchestra.  There, he adopted his other stage name, Hugo Jan Huss.  Among the highlights of his tenure in Guadalajara was a televised performance of “Tosca” with Placido Domingo.                        


Huss returned to the United States with his family in 1982.  After short stays in Houston, Texas and Chicago, Illinois, he was offered the position of Music Director of the La Crosse Symphony Orchestra and the family settled in La Crosse, Wisconsin. 


Huss’s relationship with the City of La Crosse had already begun several years earlier, in 1977, when he had won first place at the National Adult Symphony Orchestra Conducting Competition during La Crosse’s Great River Festival of Arts.  This prize had led to an invitation by Maestro Frank Italiano of La Crosse to conduct several seasons with the Symphony School of America, a summer camp for talented young musicians.


Huss served as Music Director of the La Crosse Symphony Orchestra until 1993 and was awarded the title of “Conductor Emeritus” by the institution in 1999. 


In La Crosse, Huss had also found an opportunity to exploit his technical education working as Data Processing Manager at Mathy Construction Co. (Onalaska, WI).  He held this position from 1982 until his retirement in 2000.  Upon retirement, Huss opened his own company, Unlimited Internet Business LLC.  He provided PC services to private parties and businesses in and around La Crosse up until just weeks before his death. 


During Huss’s long musical career he had also guest conducted in cities such as Cape Town, South Africa; Tbilisi, Georgia (then USSR); Krakow, Poland; Brno, Czechoslovakia; Aue, East Germany; Sarajevo, Yugoslavia; Veracruz, Mexico; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Tucson, Arizona; and Huntsville, Alabama.  Radio broadcasts of his work include performances with the La Crosse Symphony, with the Louisville Symphony in Kentucky (Radio Louisville), and with the Alabama Symphony (Radio Birmingham).


In 1995, Huss was invited to guest conduct the Symphony Orchestra in Aguascalientes, Mexico.  In 1997, he opened the Constantin Silvestri International Festival with a concert in Targu-Mures, Romania, and also guest conducted a concert with the Arad Symphony Orchestra shortly thereafter.  His last concert was in October 2003, when he was again invited to guest conduct the Arad Symphony Orchestra and led a breathtaking, ovationary performance of Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana”.


Huss was a member of the American Symphony Orchestra League and the American Philatelic Society; he was an avid stamp collector and adventurer to such exotic places as the Amazon, the Andes, and the Galapagos Islands.   


His cancer diagnosis in September 2005 came as a great shock to both himself and his family.  He was survived and will be deeply missed by his wife, Mirella of La Crosse; by his daughter Nicole, residing in Germany at the time with then-husband Dr. Christian Sachs; by his older brother Stefan Husz with wife Maria, residing in Romania; by his nephew Mircea Husz with wife So Young, residing in Chicago; by his grand-nieces Michelle and Monique Husz; by his younger brother Cornel Husz with wife Gabi, residing in Romania; and by his father-in-law, Dr. Bill Regis, residing in Romania.


He was preceded in death by his parents and by his mother-in-law, Emilia Regis of La Crosse. 


Visitation services were held at Dickinson Funeral Home, 1425 Jackson St., La Crosse on Thursday, March 2, 2006 from 4:00pm until 8:00pm.  Following this, his family honored his last wish and transported his remains to Arad, Romania, where a second, public visitation also took place at the Concert Hall, “Palatul Cultural”, on Tuesday, March 14th from 2:00pm until 5:00pm.  Funeral services were held the following day at noon, and Hugo Jan Huss found his final resting place in the family plot at the Pomenirea Cemetery in Arad.

M A E S T R U L   J A N   H U G O  H U S S

W E B S I T E   I N   M E M O R I A M  

26 ianuarie 1934 — 21 februarie 2006

J A N   H U G O   H U S S

Palatul Cultural, Arad, România

Imediat după ultimul său concert, oct. 2003

Hugo ca şi copil

Maestrul la repetiţie în Teatrul Degollado, Guadalajara,

Mexic, ca. 1980

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