György Ligeti

1991 Balzan Prize for Music

For his work, which, starting with the great Hungarian tradition, has had a vast innovative effect on today’s musical language. His compositions, written for a wide variety of ensembles, have marked important events in contemporary art. For his meticulous attention to the possibility of using rhythm and timbre, he has created an original and fascinating universe of sound.

György Ligeti was born on May 28, 1923 in Transylvania (†2003); he became an Austrian citizen in 1967;

studied at the Cluj Conservatory under Ferenc Farkas (1941- 43) and then at the Academy of Music in Budapest under Sándor Veress, Pál Járdányi, Ferenc Farkas and Lajos Bárdos (1945- 49); later lecturer in harmony and counterpoint at the same Academy (1950-56);

left Hungary in 1956;

free-lance work at the Studio for Electronic Music of the Westdeutscher Rundfunk in Cologne (1957-59);

in the 1960s Visiting Professor at numerous institutions, such as annual lecturer at the Darmstadt Summer Music Courses, at the Stockholm Academy of Music (1961-71) and at Stanford University, California (1972);

fellow of the German Academic Exchange Organization (DAAD) in Berlin (1969-70); professor of composition at the Hamburg Music Academy (1973-88);

member of the Stockholm Academy of Music, of the Akademie der Künste in Berlin, of the Freie Akademie der Künste in Hamburg, of the Bayerische Akademie der Schönen Künste in Munich, of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters in New York and of the Royal Philharmonic Society in London;

among the honours received are: Orden pour le mérite, Bonn (1975); Grawemeyer Award (1986); Commdr., Ordre National des Arts et Lettres, France (1988); Praemium Imperiale of the Japan Art Association (1991).

Some of his major works are:

—Apparitions (for orchestra) (1958-59);

—Atmosphères (for orchestra) (1961);

—Aventures – Nouvelles Aventures (for three singers and seven instrumentalists) (1962-65);

—Requiem (for soprano and mezzo-soprano solo, two mixed choirs and orchestra) (1963-65);

—Concerto for Cello and Orchestra (1966);

—Lontano (for large orchestra) (1967);

—Chamber Concerto for 13 instrumentalists (1969-70);

—Double Concerto (for flute, oboe and orchestra) (1971-72);

—Le Grand Macabre (opera) (1974-77);

—Drei Phantasien nach Friedrich Hölderlin (for choir) (1982);

—Trio (for violin. horn and piano) (1982):

—Concerto for Piano (1985-88);

—Concerto for Violin and Orchestra (1990).

(October 1991)

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