1923–2006, Hungarian composer. He studied music in Romania and Hungary, and was a teacher at the Budapest Academy of Music until he fled to Vienna (1956) after the Soviet invasion of Hungary. He worked (1957–58) at Cologne's electronic music studio and later taught at music schools in Darmstadt (1959), in Stockholm (1961), at Stanford (1972), and in Hamburg beginning in 1973. In the 1950s he began composing electronic music, such as Artikulation
(1958), and came to worldwide attention with his orchestral Atmosphères
(1961). An extremely innovative composer who became a key figure in Europe's musical avant garde, Ligeti created a distinctive and highly influential style of music that relies on the density and texture of sound masses. Some of his works also employ a satirical wit. From the 1980s on his music tended to be somewhat melodic. His compositions include orchestral works, e.g., Lontano
(1967) and concertos for the violin (1989–93) and horn (1998–2001); chamber music, e.g. Trio for Violin, Horn, and Piano
(1982); keyboard works, e.g., Etudes for Piano
(1985–90); theater pieces, e.g., Aventures
(1962) and the comic opera Le Grand Macabre
(1976, rev. 1997); and choral works, e.g., Lux Aeterna
(1966) and Clocks and Clouds
See György Ligeti in Conversation (1983); biographies by P. Griffiths (1983) and R. Toop (1999); studies by F. Sallis (1996), M. Lobanova (2002), and R. Steinitz (2003); R. W. Richart, György Ligeti: A Bio-Bibliography (1991).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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