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Classiscsonline Home » Composers » S » Szekely, Zoltan



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Zoltan Szekely (01/01/1903 - 01/01/2001)

Zoltán Székely’s name will always be associated with that of Béla Bartók. Generations of young violinists will have played his arrangement of Bartók’s Six Romanian Dances and Székely gave premieres of several of Bartók’s works. He was also the illustrious leader (after Sándor Végh gave up the post) for over thirty-five years of the Hungarian String Quartet, a group that was to be one of the great and enduring ensembles of the middle of the twentieth century and one that will always be linked to Bartók’s name, giving premieres of and recording all of his string quartets.

A violin pupil of Jenő Hubay at the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest, Székely was also a significant composer: whilst studying with Zoltán Kodály he completed his Op. 1, the Sonata for Solo Violin. Most notable of his later compositions is a string quartet in eight movements (1937), which finally received its premiere in Banff, Canada in 1999 in a performance by the New Zealand String Quartet (which numbered two of his ex-pupils among its members).

The last twenty years of Székely’s career were spent in Canada where he held the post of Alberta’s violinist-in-residence, acting as a role model for many aspiring musicians and frequently travelling around the province in uncomfortable conditions to further this aim.

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