Universal Edition - Béla Bartók – Biography


Béla Bartók


1881 – 25th March: Béla Bartók is born near the Hungarian city of Nagyszentmiklós (today: Sânnicolau Mare/Rumania) as the son of the headmaster of an agricultural school and a schoolmistress

1889 – after his father’s early death his mother brings him up and gives him piano lessons

1893 – music and composition lessons in Preßburg

1899–1903 – after graduating from the Gymnasium he studies composition and piano at the Budapest Academy of Music

1904 – world premiere of his symphonic poem Kossuth in Manchester

1905 – composes Rhapsody for piano and orchestra, the first of Bartók’s works which will be published. His early works are characterized by Hungarian nationalism. He promotes the recognition of the Hungarian peasant song as an idiosyncratic folk art and defines its individual peculiarity as opposed to the music in the city. Bartók’s interest in Eastern European folk music influences his compositions

1908 – composes his first string quartet

1908–1934 – Professor of piano at the Academy in Budapest

1908/09 – publishes a collection of piano pieces based on Hungarian and Slovakian folks songs under the title For children

1911 – composes the piano piece Allegro barbaro and the opera Bluebeard’s Castle

1913 – trip to the oasis of Biskra to study Arab music

1914–1919 – composes the ballets The Wooden Prince (1914-1916), Budapest (1917) and The Miraculous Mandarin (1918/19)

1923 – First world success with Dance Suite for orchestra

1924 – Publication of scientific paper The Hungarian folk song

1934 – Publication of the scientific paper The folk music of Magyars and the neighbouring peoples;
Bartók asks for release from teaching assignment in order to be able to fully focus on research activities

1936 – composes Music for strings, percussion and celesta for the Basel chamber orchestra

1939 – composes Divertimento for string orchestra

1940 – emigration into USA;
appointment as honorary doctor of the Columbia University. Bartók gets a research assignment

1943 – After a break of three years from composing the Concerto for Orchestra is completed

1945 – 26th September: Béla Bartók dies in New York