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Zoltán Kodály

 1882 - 1967Zoltan Kodaly Photo © Boosey & Hawkes


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Zoltán Kodály, the Hungarian composer, ethnomusicologist and educationalist, pioneered the reintegration of folk material into 20th century music * Studied Hungarian and German at Budapest University and composition and teaching at the Academy of Music * In 1905 started field trips collecting folksongs with Bartók, a lifetime friend * In 1907 travelled to Paris and was greatly influenced by Debussy's music * Appointed professor at Academy of Music (1907-40) * First public performances in 1910 at concert signalling birth of new Hungarian music * After fall of Hungarian republic in 1919 stripped of teaching positions for two years and musically isolated * International career rekindled in 1923 with success of Psalmus Hungaricus * Music championed by conductors Toscanini, Mengelberg, Ansermet and Furtwängler * From 1925 further developed educational activities, revolutionising teaching of singing and sight reading * In 1930s composed orchestral showpieces including Peacock Variations and Concerto for Orchestra * Many choral works, combining influence of Magyar folk singing, Gregorian chant, and polyphonic styles of Palestrina and Bach

Works by Zoltán Kodály include:
Symphony in C (1930s-61) for orchestra
Peacock Variations (1938-39) for orchestra
Concerto for Orchestra (1939-40)
Missa Brevis (1945) for soloists, chorus and orchestra

"Our age of mechanisation leads along a road ending with man himself as a machine; only the spirit of singing can save us from this fate". — Zoltán Kodály

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