Kovach Andor

Kovach Andor

(1915 - 2005)

Swiss composer born in Erdely (Transilavania), one of Hungary’s oldest regions, annexed to Romania since the First World War. His studies: matriculation with Latin and Greek in Budapest. Diplomas in composition, choir directing and conducting, musical education, all from the Ferenc Liszt Academy in Budapest. His teachers: Zoltan Kodaly, whose assistant at the Music Academy he became, Belà Bartok, with whom he studied composition privately. Bardos, Vaszi, Zalanfy, Clemens Krauss for conducting and H. Swarowsky in Vienna and Salzburg. Has conducted many orchestral and choral works since age eighteen. Composed the theatre music for the piece Bibracte by Swiss author A.Schwengeler and conducted it at the National Theatre in Budapest. In 1947 he was named founding-professor at the National Conservatory in Saarebruck (whose staff included W.Gieseking, M. Gendron, E.Steckel, Paul Tortellier). In 1951 he founded and became conductor of the Youth Symphony orchestra in San Paulo (Brazil), with which he made many tours of America. Invited by E. van Beinum to become chief assistant conductor of the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, his lack of the Dutch nationality prevented him from accepting the post. He then settled in Brussels, becoming the founder and permanent conductor of the National Youth orchestra of Belgium. Taught and lectured at Louvain University. Gave a series of lectures and radio talks about Hungarian music which were broadcast by radio stations in Brussels, Paris, Anvers, Hilversum, Stockholm, Rome and Vienna. Conducted other great European orchestras (Belgium, Holland, France, Spain, Germany, Luxemburg, Switzerland, etc.), while steadily composing works that have been performed in most European countries. He settled in Switzerland in 1961, upon his nomination as professor of composition, analysis and orchestration at the Lausanne Conservatory, and composed, among others, two works commissioned by Dr. Paul Sacher. In 1964 he was awarded the Reine Marie-José Composition Prize. His opera Médée was premiered by Radio Genève and performed in Germany, at the Théâtre Graslin in Nantes and by the ORTF in a Paris concert, then in Hungary and New York by the Radio. The premiere of his First Concerto for piano and orchestra was conducted by E. Ansermet, and his works performed at festivals in Divonne, Nancy and Paris, in Scandinavian countries up to Helsinki and, from 1975, in the United States. In 1978 he was called to Boston where for four years he taught composition, analysis and orchestration at the famous Massachussets Institute of Technology and at the Boston Conservatory. A period of intense musical activity followed, during which he composed many works (including an opera Le Rendez-Vous which he conducted many times), gave numerous lectures at various State Universities and broadcasts talks. In 1983 he returned to his home in Lausanne, where he now lives and pursues his compositional career. 




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