Zoltan Kodály, classical music composer

Zoltan Kodály image

Zoltan Kodály


Born in Hungary on December 16, 1882, Zoltán Kodály grew up in a rich musical environment created by his father, a local railway station master but also an amateur violinist. Though he grew up hearing the music of the German masters, Kodály nevertheless developed a strong interest for the folk music of his native land, an affinity that would last his entire life. After graduating from grammar school in 1900, he simultaneously enrolled in the Budapest University, studying Germanic and Hungarian literature, and the Budapest Academy of Music. Kodály excelled at his musical studies, taking a diploma in composition in 1904 and a second diploma in music education the following year. In 1906, he earned a Ph.D. for his research and analysis of Hungarian folksong. His research and cataloging of Hungarian folksong lead Kodály to a meeting with Béla Bartók, who shared Kodály's enthusiasm for folksong, and the two formed a lifelong friendship.

The year 1906 also saw Kodály's debut as a composer with a successful performance of his Summer Evening at the Academy of Music. His first international success, however, did not come until 1923, delayed by the growing political instability of Europe and eventual outbreak of World War I, with his Psalmus Hungaricus. The piece premiered at a concert, which also included works by Bartók and Dohnányi, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the unification of Buda and Pest. Following a few years later, Kodály produced his most famous work, the opera Háry János and its accompanying orchestral suite.

Kodály's reputation as a composer was rivaled by his reputation as a music educator and ethnomusicologist. He possessed a strong passion for music education and sought to reform music teaching in the lower and middle schools of Hungary. He published several important educational works which today are collectively known as the "Kodály Method." In 1964, he was honored for his academic contributions and served as honorary president of the International Society of Music Educators. Kodály died on March 6, 1967.

Composer Title Date Action
Zoltan Kodály Galántai táncok 10/02/2011 Play Add to playlist
Zoltan Kodály Dances of Marosszek 10/08/2011 Play Add to playlist
Zoltan Kodály Galántai Táncok 10/10/2012 Play
Zoltan Kodály Serenade for 2 Violins and Viola, Op. 12 11/20/2012 Play Add to playlist
Zoltan Kodály Háry János suite 12/14/2014 Play Add to playlist