The least important are not forbidden to dream of great things, and even modestly to aim at them, according to the measure of their abilities.

Liszt to Antal Augusz
László Somfai

László Somfai

Doctoral School, Musicology Department

Music History Research as Main Subject, Musicology PhD Seminar

 

Born: 1934, Jászladány

Academic degree, university position: DSc, ordinary member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, professor emeritus; member of the Doctoral Council and the PhD Doctoral Council

Subjects: history of music, special seminars (earlier including stylistic analysis and paleography) – see more under “teaching activities”

 

Studies:

1953–1958: Liszt Ferenc College of Music, Musicology Department; 1959: diploma in History of Music

1982: Hungarian Academy of Sciences – Doctor of Science (DSc) degree (for his book Joseph Haydn zongoraszonátái [The Piano Sonatas of Joseph Haydn] )

 

Teaching activities:

Since 1968: professor at the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music

BA / MA courses:

  • Bartók Seminars 1-2
  • Beethoven’s Later String Quartets
  • Haydn Seminars 1-2
  • Urtext 1-2

Professor at the Doctoral School of the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music; 1995-2007: Chairman of the Doctoral Council; 1997-2007: Head of the Doctoral School of Musicology

PhD and DLA courses:

  • Doctoral Seminar (PhD)
  • Bartók Studies (PhD)
  • Musical Notation and Its Interpretation (DLA)
  • Interpretation of Bartók (DLA)
  • The classical string quartet idiom of Joseph Haydn (DLA)

Master classes, invited lecturer:

Since 1960, he has regularly participated in international congresses and conferences in musicology, and has held courses at universities around the world (USA, Germany, Austria, England, Switzerland, Canada, Spain, Italy, Denmark, etc.).

He was a visiting professor for two semesters in the USA (at the Graduate Center of the City University New York and the University of California Berkeley), and for one semester at the University of Vienna.

 

Professional activities:

1958-1962: research fellow at the Music Collection of the National Széchenyi Library

1963-1972: research fellow at the Bartók Archives of the Institute for Musicology of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences

1972-2004: Head of the Bartók Archives

 

Major publications:

14 books (5 in world languages); special sections of books – 34 published in Hungary and 46 published abroad; studies – 57 published in Hungary and 11 published abroad; 8 urtext editions of scores; and 10 facsimile editions with commentaries

Major books:

(Dénes Bartha, László Somfai, Dorrit Révész) Haydn als Opernkapellmeister (Bp., Mainz: Akadémiai Kiadó, Schott, 1960), 470 + 29 pp.

Joseph Haydn. Sein Leben in zeitgenössischen Bildern (Bp., Corvina; Kassel, Bärenreiter, 1966), VIII, 245 pp. — Joseph Haydn. His Life in Contemporary Pictures (rev. ed.) (Bp.: Corvina; London: Faber and Faber; New York: Taplinger, 1969), XXII, 244 pp. — Joseph Haydn élete képekben és dokumentumokban (rev. ed.) (Bp.: Zeneműkiadó, 1977), IX, 243 pp.

Anton Webern (Bp.: Gondolat, 1968), 248 pp.

Joseph Haydn zongoraszonátái (The Piano Sonatas of Joseph Haydn) (Bp.: Zeneműkiadó, 1979), 313 pp.

Tizennyolc Bartók-tanulmány (18 Studies on Bartók) (Bp.: Zeneműkiadó, 1981), 323 pp.

The Keyboard Sonatas of Joseph Haydn (rev. ed.) (Chicago, London: University of Chicago Press, 1995), XX, 389 pp.

Béla Bartók: Composition, Concepts, and Autograph Sources (Berkeley, Los Angeles, London: University of California Press, 1996), XXII, 334 pp.

Bartók Béla kompozíciós módszere (Béla Bartók’s Method of Composition) (rev. ed.) (Bp.: Akkord, 2000), XXIV, 339 pp

 

Awards and honors:
1961: Award of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences
1972: Ferenc Erkel Award
1996: ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award
1999: Széchenyi Award
2015: Hungarian Order of Merit Commander's Cross

Memberships:
1988: corresponding member of the American Musicological Society
Since 1995: member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (1995 corr., 2004 ord. member)
1997: corresponding member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
1998: corresponding member of the British Academy
1994-1998: Founder-president of the Magyar Zenetudományi és Zenekritikai Társaság (Hungarian Musicological Society)
1997-2002: President of the International Musicological Society
He is a member of the Zentralinstitut der Mozartforschung (Salzburg) and the Joseph Haydn-Institut (Cologne).

 

Homepage: www.zti.hu/bartok

 

Contact: somfai@zti.hu