Born: Feb 19, 1926 in Lugoj, Rumania
Genre: Chamber Music, Keyboard Music
Gyorgy Kurtag is one of the more highly esteemed composers of the late twentieth century. He is not well known outside of Europe, writing little and not prone to acts of self-promotion. Most composers would not have been able to establish a career in this manner.
His hometown changed hands from Hungary to Romania. What he saw while under Communist rule before he went west no doubt shaped the peculiar tensions of his music, which often sounds like lessons learned through surviving persecution. In 1940, he studied piano with Magda Kardos and composition from Max Eisikovits, at Temesvar (Timisoara, Romania). He then moved to Budapest in 1946, enrolling in the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music, studying composition with Sandor Veress and Ferenc Farkas, as well as piano with Pal Kadosa and chamber music with Leo Weiner. These people remained proud Hungarians, though war had altered the international borders drastically. Kurtag officially became a Hungarian citizen in 1948. In the early part of the 1950s, he continued his studies of composition, chamber music, and piano. He was an outstanding student, winning the Erkl prize in 1954 and 1956. In 1957 - 1958 he went west for a one-year stay in Paris, studying with Marianne Stein and attending courses of Darius Milhaud and Olivier Messiaen.
Though the standard of living in democratic France was no doubt higher than communist Hungary, Kurtag returned home as repetiteur of soloists with the Hungarian National Philharmonia throughout most the 1960s. He was also professor at the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music, Budapest, first of piano, then of chamber music. In 1971, he had his second appointment in the west. This time it was a one-year stay in West Berlin as grantee of the DAAD scholarship. His reputation began to gain more ground.
What little he had written demonstrated itself as the work of genius, beginning with the brief Quartetto per archi opus 1 from 1959. A perfect synthesis of Webern and Bartok, this work has an undistracted intelligence about it, a courage that intellectuals required to survive the tyranny of the Soviets. He did seem entirely at odds with the Communists, having written some works with anti-American sentiment, but this appeared exclusively before his visit to Paris in the 1950s. The 1960s and 1970s were been fairly uneventful, and his catalog continued to grow at a startlingly slow rate. However, what works he had written made a large impression.
After his retirement from the Liszt Academy in 1986, he lived in Germany and Austria. In 1987, one year after leaving Hungary, he immediately became a member of the Bayerische Akademie der Schonen Kunste, Munich, as well as a member of the Akademie der Kunste, Berlin. His works were getting more sought after, and he was relentlessly sought after as an instructor.
Living at a comparatively brisker, international pace, in 1993 he was awarded the Prix de Composition Musicale by the Fondation Prince Pierre de Monaco, for his Grabstein fur Stephan and Op. 27 No. 2 (Double Concerto); the Herder Prize by the Freiherr-vom-Stein Stiftung, Hamburg; and the Premio Feltrinelli by the Accademia dei Lincei, Rome. That same year, Kurtag was invited to stay in Berlin as composer in residence with the Berliner Philharmoniker for two years. This was followed by a residency with the Wiener Konzerthaus and, in 1998, the Kossuth Prize from the Hungarian states for his life's work.
Kurtag had carved his place in the Western world while still behind the Iron Curtain, emerging in the 1980s as an indisputably necessary voice.
- John Keillor
All Music Guide
Kurtag was born at Lugos (Lugoj in Romania) on 19 February 1926.
From 1940 he took piano lessons from Magda Kardos and studied composition with Max Eisikovits in Timisoara. Moving to Budapest, he enrolled at the Academy of Music in 1946 where his teachers included Sandor Veress and Ferenc Farkas (composition), Pal Kadosa (piano) and Leo Weiner (chamber music).
In 1957-58 Kurtag studied in Paris with Marianne Stein and attended the courses of Messiaen and Milhaud. As a result, he rethought his ideas on composition and marked the first work he wrote after his return to Budapest, a string quartet, as his opus 1.
In 1958-63 Kurtag worked as a repetiteur with the Bela Bartok Music Secondary School in Budapest. In 1960-80 he was repetiteur with soloists of the National Philharmonia. From 1967 he was assistant to Pal Kadosa at the Academy of Music, and the following year he was appointed professor of chamber music. He held this post until his retirement in 1986 and subsequently continued to teach at the Academy until 1993.
With increased freedom of movement in the 1990s he has worked increasingly outside Hungary (as composer in residence with the Berlin Philharmonic), with the Vienna Konzerthaus, in the Netherlands, and in Paris at the invitation of the Ensemble InterContemporain, Cite de la Musique and the Festival d'Automne. He has won many awards, including the Ernst von Siemens Prize.
Music of Gyorgy Kurtag on ECM includes Jatekok, with Gyorgy and Marta Kurtag, and Musik fur Streichinstrumente with the Keller Quartet. Compositions by Kurtag are also heard on two albums with Kim Kashkashian: Hommage a R. Sch. (which brings together compositions of Kurtag and Robert Schumann), and Bartok/Eotvos/Kurtag which includes the early "Movement for Viola and Orchestra". Kurtag's "Ligatura-Message to Frances Marie", meanwhile, was appended to Andras Keller and Janos Pilz's recent account of the Bartok violin duos, and Kurtagian fragments also occur in Bruno Ganz's reading of the poetry of George Seferis on "Wenn Wasser ware".
Дьёрдь Куртаг (род. 19 февраля 1926, Лугож, Румыния) - венгерский композитор.
Родился в Банате, в еврейской семье. Закончил Будапештскую музыкальную академию. В 1957-1958 гг. учился у Мессиана и Мийо в Париже, где написал Струнный квартет, обозначив его как свой первый опус. В Кёльне услышал электронные сочинения Штокхаузена и Лигети. В 1967-1986 гг. преподавал в Будапештской музыкальной академии, среди его учеников - международно признанные пианисты Андраш Шифф и Золтан Кочиш. В 1993-1995 работал в Берлине, в 1995-1996 - в Вене.
Куртаг свободно владеет несколькими языками от древнегреческого до русского. Столь же широк репертуар музыкальных традиций от Гийома де Машо до Берга, Бартока и Мессиана, которые скрещиваются в его творчестве. Часто обращается к литературным источникам - поэзии Сапфо, Гёльдерлина, Блока, Ахматовой, Аттилы Йожефа, Яноша Пилинского, Риммы Далош-Трусовой, проповедям Петера Борнемисы, прозе Кафки, драматургии Беккета.
Лауреат премии Кошута (1973, 1996), офицер Ордена литературы и искусства (1985). Член Баварской Академии изящных искусств в Мюнхене (1987), Художественной Академии в Берлине (1987), почетный профессор Королевской консерватории в Гааге (1996). Награжден Премией принца Монакского (1993), премией Австрийского государства (1994), премией Эрнста Сименса (1998), премией Гёльдерлина (2001), Премией Гравемайера (2006, за Кончертанте для скрипки и альта с оркестром). Почётный гражданин Республики Австрия (1998).