Women Composers

Composers from Hungary

Bela Bartók

March 25, 1881 -

Modern Period

Bela Bartók was born in Hungary. He started playing piano at an early age. At first, he was taught by his mother; later he attended and graduated from the prestigious Budapest Academy of Music.

Bartók was very interested in the folk music of his native land and, with Zoltán Kodály, traveled throughout Hungary and other neighboring countries recording thousands of old songs. He wanted to use this music in a very natural way in his own compositions. You can hear the strong rhythmic patterns of the folk tunes and their unique sounds in many of his pieces. One of his most famous works is the Mikrokosmos, which consists of over 150 pieces for teaching piano that are based on Hungarian music.

In 1940, Bartók moved to the United States to escape from Hitler and Nazism. He settled in New York City with his wife, where he taught at Columbia University and continued to compose. His health was never good, however, and he had constant financial problems. He died in 1945.

Bartók's music was not very popular during his lifetime, but after his death he became one of the most well known composers of the 20th century.

 


Zoltán Kodály

December 16, 1882 -

Modern Period

Zoltán Kodály was born in Kecskemét, Hungary. Because his father worked with the Hungarian Railway System, the family was transferred a lot. As a result, Zoltán learned about music from all different parts of his country as he moved around. That was the beginning of his life-long interest in folk music.

Both of Zoltán's parents were amateur musicians, so there was also music in the house. As a boy, Zoltán learned to play the violin, piano, viola and cello. He performed in his school orchestra and at home with his parents.

As an adult, Kodály continued traveling around Hungary, collecting and studying Hungarian folk music. Much of the music he composed was based on folk songs he collected on his travels. And he also for created a new way to teach music to kids. His system became known as Kodály Method, and it's still used today by teachers around the world.

Kodály's most popular work is the suite from his opera Háry János. Háry János was a real man who liked to sit around at the village inn telling tall tales about his youth. One of those tales had him defeating Napoleon's army all by himself. The "Viennese Musical Clock" describes the mechanical clock Háry János claimed to have heard at the Austrian emperor's palace.

 


Franz Liszt

October 22, 1811 -

Romantic Period

While Franz Liszt was a composer, conductor, critic and teacher, he was best known as a pianist. He was the first of the virtuoso performers. When Liszt walked onto the stage, he took over the hall, amazing the audience with his incredible technique and his awesome presence. He was a true showman and the man who invented the solo recital. Although some were annoyed by his personality, Liszt was one of the greatest pianists the world has ever known.

As a composer, Liszt, of course, wrote music primarily for the piano. He also transcribed popular orchestral works for this instrument. Many of his pieces are tremendously difficult and few pianists can perform them properly. Later in his life, he started writing music for the orchestra and composed wonderful melodies.

Liszt also wrote music criticism and was known as a conductor and teacher. He trained many of the performers of his time in his tradition.

Because of his ego and attitude, Liszt was always a controversial figure. However, he is recognized as one of the dominant personalities of 19th century Romantic music.

 


Women Composers

Composers from Hungary

Bela Bartók

March 25, 1881 -

Modern Period

Bela Bartók was born in Hungary. He started playing piano at an early age. At first, he was taught by his mother; later he attended and graduated from the prestigious Budapest Academy of Music.

Bartók was very interested in the folk music of his native land and, with Zoltán Kodály, traveled throughout Hungary and other neighboring countries recording thousands of old songs. He wanted to use this music in a very natural way in his own compositions. You can hear the strong rhythmic patterns of the folk tunes and their unique sounds in many of his pieces. One of his most famous works is the Mikrokosmos, which consists of over 150 pieces for teaching piano that are based on Hungarian music.

In 1940, Bartók moved to the United States to escape from Hitler and Nazism. He settled in New York City with his wife, where he taught at Columbia University and continued to compose. His health was never good, however, and he had constant financial problems. He died in 1945.

Bartók's music was not very popular during his lifetime, but after his death he became one of the most well known composers of the 20th century.

 


Zoltán Kodály

December 16, 1882 -

Modern Period

Zoltán Kodály was born in Kecskemét, Hungary. Because his father worked with the Hungarian Railway System, the family was transferred a lot. As a result, Zoltán learned about music from all different parts of his country as he moved around. That was the beginning of his life-long interest in folk music.

Both of Zoltán's parents were amateur musicians, so there was also music in the house. As a boy, Zoltán learned to play the violin, piano, viola and cello. He performed in his school orchestra and at home with his parents.

As an adult, Kodály continued traveling around Hungary, collecting and studying Hungarian folk music. Much of the music he composed was based on folk songs he collected on his travels. And he also for created a new way to teach music to kids. His system became known as Kodály Method, and it's still used today by teachers around the world.

Kodály's most popular work is the suite from his opera Háry János. Háry János was a real man who liked to sit around at the village inn telling tall tales about his youth. One of those tales had him defeating Napoleon's army all by himself. The "Viennese Musical Clock" describes the mechanical clock Háry János claimed to have heard at the Austrian emperor's palace.

 


Franz Liszt

October 22, 1811 -

Romantic Period

While Franz Liszt was a composer, conductor, critic and teacher, he was best known as a pianist. He was the first of the virtuoso performers. When Liszt walked onto the stage, he took over the hall, amazing the audience with his incredible technique and his awesome presence. He was a true showman and the man who invented the solo recital. Although some were annoyed by his personality, Liszt was one of the greatest pianists the world has ever known.

As a composer, Liszt, of course, wrote music primarily for the piano. He also transcribed popular orchestral works for this instrument. Many of his pieces are tremendously difficult and few pianists can perform them properly. Later in his life, he started writing music for the orchestra and composed wonderful melodies.

Liszt also wrote music criticism and was known as a conductor and teacher. He trained many of the performers of his time in his tradition.

Because of his ego and attitude, Liszt was always a controversial figure. However, he is recognized as one of the dominant personalities of 19th century Romantic music.

 


 

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