Balassa, Sándor

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Balassa, Sándor

Balassa, Sándor, distinguished Hungarian composer and teacher; b. Budapest, Jan. 20, 1935. He studied choral conducting at the Béla Bartók Music Secondary School (1952–56) and composition with Szervánsky at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music (graduated, 1965) in Budapest. From 1964 to 1980 he was a music producer for the Hungarian Radio, and then was a prof. at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music until his retirement in 1996. In 1972 he was awarded the Erkel Prize, in 1983 the Kossuth Prize, and in 1988 and 1999 the Bartók-Pásztory Prize. He was made a Merited Artist in 1983 and an Outstanding Artist in 1989 by the Hungarian government.


Opera: Az ajtón kívül (The Man Outside; 1973–76); A harmadik bolygó (The Third Planet; 1986–87); Karl and Anna (1987–92). ORCH.: Violin Concerto (1964); Iris (1971); Lupercalia, concerto in memory of Stravinsky for Woodwinds and Brass (1972); Tabulae for Chamber Orch. (1972); Glarusi ének (Chant of Glarus; 1978); Az örök ifjúság szigete (The Island of Everlasting Youth), overture (1979); Hivások és kiáltások (Calls and Cries; 1981; Boston, Oct. 21, 1982); Egy álmodozó naplója (A Daydreamer’s Diary; 1983); Három fantázia (3 Fantasies; 1984); Szôlôcske és halacska (Little Grape and Little Fish; 1987); Tünder liona (Fairy liona; 1992); Csaba királyfi (Prince Csaba) for Strings (1993); Bölcskei Concerto for Strings (1993); Mucsai táncok (Dances from Mucsa; 1994); A Nap fiai (Sons of the Sun; 1995); Négy arckép (4 Portraits; 1996); 301-es parcella (301 Parcel; 1997); Pécsi Concerto for 5 Soloists and String Orch. (1998); Magyar koronázási zene (Hungarian Coronation Music; 1998); Hunok vòlgye (Val d’Anniviers; 1999). CHAMBER: Divertimento for 2 Dulcimers (1961–93); Dimensioni for Flute and Viola (1966); Wind Quintet (1966); Percussion Quartet (1969); Trio for Violin, Viola, and Harp (1970); Xenia for Chamber Ensemble (1970); Intermezzo for Flute and Piano (1971); The Last Shepherd for Cello (1978); Quintetto d’ottoni (1979); Harp Sonatina (1993); Fûzérke for Flute, Viola, and Harp (1994); Jánosnapi muzsika (John’s Day Music) for Violin (1994); String Quartet (1995); Nyirbátori harangok (Bells of Nyirbátor) for 12 Brass Instruments (1996); Duet for Flute and Harp (1998); Pastoral and Rondo for Violin and Horn (1998). VOCAL: 8 Songs from Rottenbiller Street for Soprano and Piano (1954; rev. 1997); 2 Songs for Mezzo-soprano and Piano, after Attila József (1954; rev. 1994); 2 Songs for Soprano and Piano, after Dezsô Kosztolányi (1957); Antinomia for Soprano, Clarinet, and Cello (1968); Requiem Kassák Lajosért (Requiem for Lajos Kassák) for Soprano, Tenor, Baritone, Chorus, and Orch. (1969); Cantata Y for Soprano and Orch. (1970); Kyrie for Women’s Chorus (1982); Bnatomtól szabadulnék for Women’s Chorus (1988); Oldott kéve (Untied Sheaf) for Chorus (1991); Damjanich imája (Damjanich’s Prayer) for Chorus (1993); Árvák éneke (Orphan’s Chant) for Chorus (1995); Favágó (Woodcutter) for Chorus (1998); Holdének, Naphimnusz (Chant of the Moon, Anthem of the Sun) for Men’s Chorus (1998); Winter Cantata for Children’s Chorus and String Orch. (1999); Christmas Legend for Women’s Chorus (1999).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire