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Born in Nagykanizsa (Hungary) on December 15th 1905, died in Budapest on October 10th 2000.
Ferenc Farkas studied composition with Leò Weiner and Albert Siklòs at the Budapest Academy of Music (1922-1927), then with Ottorino Respighi at the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome (1929-1931). Between 1932 and 1936, he lived in Vienna and in Copenhagen where he composed film music for the producer Paul Fejös. After his return to Hungary he started teaching and directing in Budapest, Kolozsvàr (Cluj) and Székesfehérvar. From 1949 until his retirement in 1975, he was professor of composition at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest. Many of his pupils, who have attained international status in their own right have paid tribute to his great skill as teacher, i.e. composers such as György Ligeti, György Kurtag, Emil Petrovics, Zsolt Durkò, Sàndor Szokolay, Attila Bozay, Zoltàn Jeney.
The work of Ferenc Farkas (more than 700 titles) has its origin in the Hungarian and Italian musical tradition as well as in the dodecaphony and includes a wide variety of different genres: operas, musicals, ballets, incidental and film music, orchestral works, concerti, chamber music, masses, oratorios, cantatas, choruses and Lieder.
A gift for melodic invention, a sense of rhythm, lively and spontaneous, a total command to write in all styles and for all instruments, a cosmopolitan culture and a constant desire to reconcile tradition and modernity are the components of the original, uniform, individual, national and international idiom of Ferenc Farkas. His work bestowed on Hungarian music a whole new dimension.
The stature of Ferenc Farkas was recognized by more than one country where he was the beneficiary of some of the greatest cultural awards including:
- Kossuth Prize (1950 and 1991)
- Gottfried von Herder Prize (1979)
- Cavaliere dell'Ordine della Repubblica Italiana (1984)