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György Kurtág

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György Kurtág is Hungary’s leading composer, performed worldwide * Heir to Webernian expressionism, favouring concentrated miniatures exploring a wide range of human emotions * Many recent works expand spatial horizons, including …quasi una fantasia…(1987-88) and Op.27 No.2 ‘Double Concerto’ (1989-90) * Major contributions to chamber music repertoire including three string quartets and Hommage à R Sch (1990) for clarinet, viola and piano * Interested in training musicians, exemplified by ongoing series of piano studies Játékok (1975- ) * Music championed by leading conductors including Claudio Abbado , Simon Rattle, Christoph von Dohnányi and Peter Eötvös


György Kurtág was born on 19th February 1926 at Lugos (Lugoj in Rumanian), in the Bánát, an area which had been ceded to Rumania after World War I, under the Treaty of Trianon. Dicsöszentmárton, György Ligeti’s birthplace, is not far from Lugos, both of them small towns inhabited for centuries by a mixed population of Hungarians, Germans (Saxons) and Rumanians.

From 1940, Kurtág took piano lessons from Magda Kardos and studied composition with Max Eisikovits at Temesvár (Timisoara). Early in September 1945, he made his way to Budapest in the hope of being admitted to the class of Béla Bartók at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music. News of his death was a great shock both to Kurtág and a fellow student who had also hoped to study with Bartók: the friendship between György Kurtág and György Ligeti began in those days in Budapest.

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