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Zoltán Kodály

 B i o g r a p h y

Zoltán Kodály (born December 16, 1882 in Kecskemét - died March 6, 1967 in Budapest) was a Hungarian composer, ethnomusicologist, educator, linguist and philosopher. After gaining his PhD in philosophy and linguistics, Kodály went to Paris where he studied with Charles Widor. There he discovered, and absorbed influences from, the music of Claude Debussy. He continued his folk music-collecting expeditions through World War I without interruption.

Kodály subsequently became very interested in the problems of music education, and wrote a good deal of educational music for schools, as well as books on the subject. Some commentators refer to his ideas as the "Kodály Method" See also: Kodály Hand Signs. He continued to compose for professional ensembles also, with the Dances of Marosszék (1930, in versions for solo piano and for full orchestra), the Dances of Galanta (1933, for orchestra), the Peacock Variations (1939, commissioned by the Concertgebouw Orchestra to celebrate its fiftieth anniversary) and the Missa Brevis (1944, for soloists, chorus, orchestra and organ) among his better known works. The suite from his opera Háry János (1926) also became well known, though few productions of the opera itself take place. It was first performed in Budapest and conductors such as Toscanini, Mengelberg and Furtwangler have included this piece in their repertoires.

Kodály made a considerable contribution to chamber music also: notably a virtuosic sonata for unaccompanied cello, and a half-hour-long Duo for cello and violin. In 1966, the year before Kodály's death, the Kodály Quartet, a string quartet named in Kodály's honour, formed.

Selected compositions:
    * Concerto for Orchestra (1939)
    * Trio for 2 Violins and Viola
    * Duo for violin & cello, Op. 7 (1914)
    * Sonata for solo cello, Op. 8 (1915)
    * Missa Brevis for soloists, chorus & organ (1944)
    * Laudes organi, for chorus & organ (1966)
    * Dances of Marosszék (1930)
    * Dances of Galanta (1933)
    * Háry János (1926)
    * Te Deum (1939)
    * Peacock Variations (1939)
    * Psalmus Hungaricus (1923)

 A l b u m s

The Peacock / Galánta Dances / Marosszék Dances (Hungaroton Classics, 1994)
Duet for Violin and Cello Op. 7 / Sonata for Cello Solo Op. 8 (Arte Nova Records, 1997)