Kurtâg, GyÖrgy, eminent Hungarian composer and teacher; b. Logoj, Romania, Feb. 19, 1926. At 14, he began lessons in piano with Magda Kardos and in composition with Max Eisikovits in Timi§oara. In 1946 he went to Budapest and in 1948 became a naturalized Hungarian citizen. He pursued his training at the Academy of Music with Kadosa (piano), Veress and Farkas (composition), and Weiner (chamber music), graduating with diplomas in piano and chamber music in 1951 and in composition in 1955. In 1957-58 he was in Paris to study with Marianne Stein, and also attended the courses at the Cons, of Milhaud and Messiaen. From 1967 to 1986 he was a prof, at the Budapest Academy of Music. In 1971 he was in Berlin under the sponsorship of the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst. From 1993 to 1995 he was a guest at the Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin. In 1954, 1956, and 1969 he received the Erkel Prize. He was awarded the Kossuth Prize in 1973. In 1980 he was made a Merited Artist and in 1984 an Outstanding Artist by the Hungarian government. In 1987 he became a member of the Bavarian Akademie der Schönen Künste in Munich. He was awarded the Herder Prize in Hamburg in 1992. In 1994 he was honored with the Austrian State Prize. Kurtâg has built upon advanced compositional techniques to produce his own distinctive style. His music is notable for its distinguished craftsmanship, integrity, refinement, and lyricism.
orch.:Movement for Viola and Orch. (1954; 1st movement of the Viola Concerto, 1954); Viola Concerto (1954; 1st movement as Movement for Viola and Orch., 1954); Grabstein für Stephan for Guitar and Spatially Dispersed Instrumental Groups (1978-79; rev. version, Szeged, Oct. 26, 1989); …Quasi una Fantasia…for Piano and Spatially Dispersed Instrumental Groups (1987-88; Berlin, Oct. 16, 1988); Double Concerto for Piano, Cello, and 2 Spatially Dispersed Chamber Ensembles (1989-90; Frankfurt am Main, Dec. 8, 1990); Stele (Berlin, Dec. 14, 1994). chamber: String Quartet (1959; Budapest, April 24, 1961); Wind Quintet (1959; Budapest, Nov. 17, 1963); 8 Duos for Violin and Cimbalom (1961; Budapest, March 22, 1963); Signs for Viola (1961; Budapest, March 22, 1963); Splinters for Cimbalom (1973; Budapest, April 12, 1975; also for Piano, 1978); In Memoriam György Zilcz for 2 Trumpets, 2 Trombones, and Tuba (1975); Hommage à Andrâs Milhâly, 12 microludes for String Quartet (1977; Witten, April 21, 1978); The Little Predicament for Piccolo, Trombone, and Guitar (1978; Budapest, April 27, 1979); Herdecker Eurythmie for Flute, Violin, Speaking Voice, and Tenor Lyre (1979); Janos Pilinszky: Gérard de Nerval for Cello (1986); Officium Breve in Memoriam Andreae Szervanszky for String Quartet (Witten, April 22, 1988); Ligatura-Message to Frances- Marie (The Answered Unanswered Question) for Cello with 2 Bows, 2 Violins, and Celesta (1989; also for 2 Cellos, 2 Violins, and Celesta, and for 2 Organs and Celesta or Upright Piano); Hommage à R. Sch. for Clarinet, Viola, and Piano (Budapest, Oct. 8, 1990); Lebenslauf for 2 Pianos and 2 Basset Horns (Witten, April 26, 1992). keyboard: p i a n o;: Suite for Piano Duet (1950–51); 8 Piano Pieces (Darmstadt, july 10, 1960); Games (1st series, 4 books, 1973-76; 2nd series, 3 books, 1975-93); Pre-Games (1974–75); 3 In Memoriam (1988–90).organ:Ligature e Versetti (1990). vocal:Beads for Chorus (1949 or 1950); The Sayings of Péter Bornemisza, concerto for Soprano and Piano(1963-68; Darmstadt, Sept. 5, 1968; rev. 1969 and 1975); 3 Old Inscriptions for Voice and Piano (1967-86; Berlin, Oct. 16, 1988); In Memory of Winter Sunset for Soprano, Violin, and Cimbalom (Debrecen, May 18, 1969); 4 Capriccios for Soprano and Chamber Orch. (1970; Budapest, Oct. 13, 1971; rev. for Soprano and 14 Instruments, 1997); 4 Songs to Poems by Janos Pilinszky for Bass or Bass-baritone and Chamber Ensemble (Budapest, Oct. 1, 1975); S.K. Remembrance Noise, 7 songs for Soprano and Violin (1975; Budapest, Dec. 28, 1976); Omaggio a Luigi Nono for Chorus (1979; London, Feb. 3, 1981); Messages of the Late Miss R.V. Troussova for Soprano and Chamber Ensemble (1976-80; Paris, Jan. 14, 1981); Songs of Despondency and Grief for Chorus and Instruments (1980-94; Amsterdam, June 21, 1995); Attila József Fragments for Soprano (1981; Budapest, Oct. 26, 1982); 7 Songs for Soprano and Cimbalom or Piano (1981; Glasgow, Oct. 7, 1985); Scenes from a Novel for Soprano, Violin, Double Bass, and Cimbalom (1981-82; Budapest, Oct. 1, 1983); 8 Choruses (1981-82; rev. version, London, June 1, 1984); Requiem for the Beloved for Soprano and Piano (1982-87; London, Oct. 13, 1989); Kafka-Fragment for Soprano and Violin (1985-87; Witten, April 25, 1987); Hölderlin: An…for Tenor and Piano (1988-89; Aachen, June 6, 1989); Samuel Beckett: What is the Word for Voice and Piano (1990; Sermoneta, June 5, 1993; also for Alto, Voices, and Spatially Dispersed Chamber Ensembles, Vienna, Oct. 27, 1991); Friedrich Hölderlin: Im Walde for Voice (1993). tape:Mémoire de Laïka (1990; Budapest, Jan. I, 1991; in collaboration with his son, G. Kurtâg Jr.).
F. Spangemacher, ed., G. K. (Bonn, 1986).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire