György Kurtág

Hungarian composer Kurtág studied composition and chamber music in Budapest. Chamber music also occupies the greater part of his activity. Up until composing his orchestral work, "Stele" Opus 33, during his period as composer-in-residence with the Berlin Philharmonic from 1993 to 1995, Kurtág exclusively wrote works for solo instruments and small ensembles. These largely very short pieces help us recognize the intention of the composer to achieve a maximum range of expression with intentionally reduced means. The characteristic quality of Kurtág’s music, reminiscent of Anton Webern in its brevity and severity, but evocative of Janácek in its expressiveness, is, according to Ulrich Dibelius, a unification of "a wealth of playful association and dramatic effect, of reticent stillness and a blossoming richness of colors”. Today Kurtág ranks beside Ligeti as Hungary’s most important contemporary composer.

born on February 19, 1926 in Lugoj, Rumania