Hungarian composer György Kurtág was born in 1926. He grew up speaking Hungarian, Romanian, and German. Having already started studying piano and composition, he moved to Budapest in 1946 and became a student at the Academy of Music.
1957 and 1958 finds Kurtág in Paris to study. Suffering from depression, he started therapy. He returned to Budapest in 1959, with a different view on composition and a renewed artistic spirit. This turning point in his career is marked with the notation of Opus 1 for his first string quartet composed upon his return.
In 1967 he would return to the Academy of Music as an assistant, becoming the professor of chamber music in 1968. He would hold this position until 1986 when he retired, though he would return to teach on occasion into the 90’s.
When travel restrictions were lifted, he spent more time working in Europe, spending time in Berlin, Vienna, the Netherlands, and returning to Paris.
Kurtág continues to work on compositions and is already a well decorated recipient of many awards over the years. Adding to his list of awards, in June of 2015, he was presented with the BBVA Foundation “Frontiers of Knowledge Award” in the Contemporary Music category.