Kurtág, György

Born in Lugos (now Lugoj, Romania) in 1926. From 1940 he took piano lessons with Magda Kardos and studied composition with 

Max Eisikovits in Timişoara. In 1946 he was admitted to the Budapest Academy of Music, where he continued his studies under Sándor Veress and Ferenc Farkas (composition), Pál Kadosa (piano), and Leó Weiner (chamber music). In 1957–58 he attended courses conducted by Olivier Messiaen and Darius Milhaud and worked with psychologist Marianne Stein. Influenced by these experiences, he rede ned his concept of composition and marked his first composition written after returning to Budapest (String Quartet) as Op. 1. In 1958–63 he worked at the Secondary Music School in Budapest, while in 1960–68 he coached soloists at the Hungarian National Philharmonic. From 1968 to his retirement in 1986 he worked at the Budapest Academy of Music, first as Pál Kadosa’s assistant, later as an independent chamber music professor. He continued teaching until 1993. 

György Kurtág’s international reputation began to expand with Messages of the Late Miss R. V. Troussova for soprano and chamber ensemble, which was commissioned by Ensemble intercontemporain and had its premiere in Paris in 1981. His numerous honours include the Kossuth Award (1973, 1996), Bartók and Pásztory Award (1984), O cier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (1985), and Ernst von Siemens Music Prize (2006). He is a member of the Art Academies in Munich and Berlin. He was composer in residence at the Berlin Philharmonic (1993–95) and Künstlerhaus in Vienna (1995–96). He was also invited to be composer in residence by Ensemble intercontemporain, Cité de la Musique, and Festival d’Automne. 

In 2006 he won the Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition for his ...concertante... He has lived near Bordeaux since 2002. 

Selected works: String Quartet op. 1 (1959), Wind Quintet op. 2 (1959), Eight Pieces for piano op. 3 (1960), Eight Duos for violin and cimbalom op. 4 (1961), Jelek (Signs) for viola op. 5 (1961; also versions for other string instruments, duos and trios), Five Merrycate for guitar op. 6 (1962), The Sayings of Péter Bornemisza, concerto for soprano and piano op. 7c (196368), In Memory of a Winter Evening, four fragments for soprano, violin and cimbalom op. 8 (1969), Antiphonae for orchestra op. 10 (197071), Four Songs for bass and instrumental ensemble to poems by János Pilinszky op. 11 (197375), S. K. Remembrance Noise, seven songs for soprano and violin to words by Dezső Tandori op. 12 (197475), Splinters for cimbalom / piano op. 6a–b (1973–78), Hommage à András Mihály, 12 microludes for string quartet op. 13 (197778), The Little Predicament for piccolo, trombone and guitar op. 15b (1978), Herdecker Eurhythmie for flute, violin, recitation and tenor lyre op. 14 (1979), Omaggio a Luigi Nono to poems by Anna Akhmatova and Rimma Dalos op. 16 (1979), Messages of the Late R. W. Troussova for soprano and chamber ensemble to words by Rimma Dalos op. 17 (1976–80), Piano Concerto op. 21 (1980), Bagatelles for flute, double bass and piano Op. 14d (1981), Scenes from a Novel for soprano, violin, double bass and cimbalom to words by Rimma Dalos op. 19 (1981–82), Attila József Fragments for soprano op. 20 (1981–82), Seven Songs for soprano and cimbalom op. 22 (1981), Ka a-Fragmente for soprano and violin op. 24 (1985–86), ree Ancient Inscriptions for voice and piano op. 25 (1986), Requiem for a Friend for soprano and piano to poems by Rimma Dalos op. 26 (1986–87), ... quasi una fantasia... for piano and chamber ensemble op. 27 no. 1 (1987–88), O cium breve for string quartet op. 28 (1988–89), Hölderlin: An... (A Fragment) for tenor and piano op. 29 (1988– 89), The Answered Unanswered Question (Ligatura – Message– Hommage à Frances-Marie Uitti) for cello, two violins and celesta op. 31b (1989), Signs, Games and Messagesfor cello / viola / violin (1989–), Hommage à R. Sch. for clarinet, viola and piano op. 15d (1990), Double Concerto for piano, cello and two chamber ensembles op. 27 No. 2 (1989–90), Samuel Beckett: What is the Word for recitation (contralto), voices and chamber ensemble op. 30b (1991), Aus der Ferne for string quartet (1991), Curriculum vitae for two bassett horns and two pianos op. 32 (1992), Songs of Sorrow and Despair for choir and instrumental ensemble to words by Russian poets op. 18 (1980–94), Un brin de bruyère à Witold for piano and cimbalom (1994), Stele for large orchestra op. 33 (1994), Messages for choir and orchestra op. 34 (1991–96),Hölderlin-Gesänge (Vol. 1) for baritone and instrument op. 35a (1993–97), Four Capriccios for soprano and ensemble op. 9 (1970–97), Fragments from the Scrapbooks of Georg Christoph Lichtenberg for soprano and instruments op. 37 (1996), ...pas à pas – nulle part... for baritone and instruments to poems by Samuel Beckett op. 36 (1993–98), Aus der Ferne no. 5for string quartet (1999), ...concertante... for violin, viola and orchestra op. 42 (2003), Hipartita for violin op. 43 (2000–4), Sinfonia breve per archi – Fried Márta emlékére for small string orchestra (2004), Six Moments musicaux for string quartet op. 44 (1999–2005), Hommage à Jacob Obrecht for string quartet (2004–5), Colindă – Baladă for tenor, two mixed choirs and ensemble (2000–7), Triptych for two violins op. 45 (2007), The Ligatura of Bálint Varga for violin, cello and piano (2007), Four Songs to Poems by Anna Akhmatova for soprano and chamber ensemble op. 41 (1997– 2008), New Messages for orchestra op. 34a (1998–2008), Játékok (Games) for various instruments (1973–2010), Brefs messages for instrumental ensemble op. 47 (2011).