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Zoltán Kodály

From Wind Repertory Project
Zoltán Kodály

Biography

Zoltán Kodály (16 December 1882, Kecskemét, Hungary – 6 March 1967, Budapest, Hungary) was a Hungarian composer, ethnomusicologist, pedagogue, linguist, and philosopher. He is best known internationally as the creator of the Kodály Method.

Kodály learned to play the violin as a child. In 1905 he visited remote villages to collect songs, recording them on phonograph cylinders. In 1906 he wrote the thesis on Hungarian folk song (Strophic Construction in Hungarian Folksong). Around this time Kodály met fellow composer Béla Bartók, whom he took under his wing and introduced to some of the methods involved in folk song collecting. The two became lifelong friends and champions of each other's music.

All these works show a great originality of form and content, a very interesting blend of highly sophisticated mastery in the Western-European style of music, including classical, late-romantic, impressionistic and modernist tradition and at the other hand profound knowledge and respect for the folk music in Hungary and the Hungarian-inhabited areas of Slovakia and Romania. Partly because of the Great War and subsequent major geopolitical changes in the region, partly because of a naturally rather diffident temperament in youth, Kodály had no major public success until 1923. This was the year when one of his best-known pieces, Psalmus Hungaricus, was given its first performance at a concert to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the union of Buda and Pest.

Throughout his adult life, Kodály was very interested in the problems of many types of music education, and he wrote a large amount of material on teaching methods as well as composing plenty of music intended for children's use. Beginning in 1935, along with his colleague Jenö Ádám (14 years his junior), he embarked on a long-term project to reform music teaching in Hungary's lower and middle schools. His work resulted in the publication of several highly influential books. In 1966, Kodály toured the United States and gave a special lecture at Stanford University, where some of his music was performed in his presence.


Works for Winds


References