Zoltán Kodály, also known as Kodály Zoltán, was a popular composer and expert on Hungarian folk music who was born on December 16, 1882, in Kecskemét, Austria-Hungary [now Hungary] and died on March 6, 1967, in Budapest. He was himself a significant educator, not just of composers but also of teachers, and he made a significant contribution to the dissemination of music education in Hungary through his pupils. In his childhood, he was a chorister in Nagyszombat, Austria-Hungary (now Trnava, Slovakia), where he composed his first works. He studied composition in Budapest in 1902. In the year leading up to his graduation from Budapest University with a paper on the composition of Hungarian folk song (1906), he toured his country in search of folk-song origins for the first time. He became an instructor of theory and composition at the Budapest Academy of Music (1907–41) after training for a brief period in Paris with composer-organist Charles Widor.
He released folk song editions (1906–21) with Béla Bartók, whom he met in 1906. Corpus Musicae Popularis Hungariae was founded on their folk-song collection (established 1951). Kodály developed his own style, which was influenced by Hungarian folk music, contemporary French music, and the sacred music of the Italian Renaissance. It was Romantic in flavor and less percussive than Bartók's. Psalmus Hungaricus (1923), composed to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Buda and Pest's union; Háry János (1926), a comedic opera; two collections of Hungarian dances for orchestra, Marosszék Dances (1930) and Dances of Galánta (1933); a Te Deum (1936); a concerto for orchestra (1941); Missa Brevis (1942); an opera, Cinka Panna (1948); Symphony in Die ungarische Volksmusik (1956; Folk Music of Hungary), as well as various publications for ethnographic and musical magazines, are among Kodály's scholarly works. In 1974, Ferenc Bónis edited The Chosen Writings of Zoltán Kodály, which was translated from the Hungarian by Lili Halápy and Fred Macnicol.
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