Composer of the Day!

Today's Composer of the Day! is György Kurtág!

(1926- )

Kurtág is a prominent Hungarian composer.

While in Hungary as a student, he studied with composers
Sándor Veress and Ferenc Farkas. He also met Ligeti, with whom he developed a long friendship.

Following the Hungarian uprising against the Soviets in 1956, he fled to Paris. There he studied with Milhaud and Messiaen, and discovered Webern. Messiaen, Webern, and Ligeti turned out to be very influential to his style.

A prolific composer, he is also an accomplished pianist. Also a pianist, his wife Márta frequently performs his works. Indeed, his excellent seven-volume piano four-hands cycle of pieces/exercises Jatekok (games) they often perform together; the link features them performing together at his 80th birthday party. (The linked excerpt is called "Quarrel")

He uses playful techniques in these pieces, and often graphic notations (recalling Cowell). Here is a score from the same set that is fun to look at (click to enlarge):

He has won several awards, and is well-known in Europe, although less so in the States. You should listen to his music. Here is some more music for you:


AnthonyS said...

Awesome pick.

I'm having the students in my seminar do a semester-long analysis project on his "Kafka Fragments", since it will be performed at Disney Hall (with Dawn Upshaw and staging by Peter Sellars) in November.

I'm a fan.