György Kurtág

Rumanian Born 19 Feb 1926

Born in Lugoj, Gyorgy Kurtág learnt piano as a child before entering the Budapest Academy of Music. There he learnt composition, continuing his studies in Paris with Messiaen and Milhaud. On his return to Hungary he taught at the academy where he had previously been a pupil. Primarily influenced by Bartók, he occasionally exhibited similar tendencies of folk influence; his list of works includes several for cimbalom.

Kurtág, although influenced by serial techniques and by no means shying from atonality, exhibits a strong tonal grounding and an oblique sense of humour. His ongoing series for piano, Jatekok (1974-), contains movements with titles such as The Mad Girl with the Flaxen Hair. Debussy is not the only composer to be parodied so acutely, though one hardly feels he is being mocked. The influence of Bach is also prevalent. Several of the pieces from the collection are for two players, and Kurtág still performs them alongside his wife.

Show more