Latin Music Week

Composer Gyorgy Ligeti Dies In Vienna

Composer Gyorgy Ligeti, who fled Hungary after the 1956 revolution and gained fame for his opera "Le Grand Macabre" and his work on the soundtrack for Stanley Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey," died t

Composer Gyorgy Ligeti, who fled Hungary after the 1956 revolution and gained fame for his opera "Le Grand Macabre" and his work on the soundtrack for Stanley Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey," died today (June 12). He was 83.

Ligeti, celebrated as one of the world's leading 20th century musical pioneers, died in Vienna after a long illness, said Christian Krauscheid, a spokesperson for his publisher, Schott Music in Germany.

Ligeti was born in 1923 to Hungarian parents in the predominantly ethnic Hungarian part of Romania's Transylvania region.

He began studying music under Ferenc Farkas at the conservatory in Cluj, Romania, in 1941, and continued his studies in Budapest. But in 1943, he was arrested as a Jew and sentenced to forced labor for the rest of World War II. His father and brother later were murdered by the Nazis. Ligeti took Austrian citizenship after fleeing his ex-communist homeland.

In the late 1950s, Ligeti encamped in Vienna and began composing unconventional pieces such as "Apparitions," which deviated from conventional usages of melody and rhythm. Ligeti is perhaps best known for for "Macabre," which he wrote in 1978 but revised in the 1990s.


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