Miklós Kocsár (1933–2019)

Composer Miklós Kocsár passed away

Artist of the Nation and member of HAA, Miklós Kocsár passed away on 29 August aged 86. HAA and the Ministry of Human Capacities highly appreciate his lifework and safeguard his heritage. Miklós Kocsár was one of the best-known, most productive and popular figures of Hungarian contemporary composers. Most of his works are choral pieces, but he also wrote concertos and instrumental solo pieces. 
His works are sung around the world, he is a celebrated choir composer, and was a guest of choir competitions. He wrote most of his choral pieces from poems by Hungarian poets and in different periods of his life he was engaged in works of different poets. He composed his children's choirs from the poems of Sándor Weöres, and he used the poems of Gyula Juhász, László Nagy, Imre Csanádi and Sándor Kányádi in his female and mixed choirs.

He was born in Debrecen in 1933. In his childhood he began to play the piano, but he pursued regular music studies only later at the Debrecen Conservatoire as a pupil of Emil Szabó. From 1954 till 1959 he studied composition with Ferenc Farkas at the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music, Budapest. At the beginning of the 1960's he married the choir conductor and music teacher Ildikó Herboly, a prominent exponent of the Kodály method. His career began with chamber music, especially music for wind instruments. He wrote songs, cantatas, masses, oratorios, orchestral pieces and solo instrumental pieces, but a very considerable proportion of his oeuvre consists of choral compositions. Many of his choral pieces were composed to verses by Hungarian poets. Characteristic features of his compositions are his quest for beauty of sound and his insistence on strict formal proportions. From 1963 Kocsár worked for a short time as an editor for the Music Publishing House, then from the autumn of that year until 1972 he was musical director and conductor at the Madách Theatre. Since 1972 he taught composition at the Béla Bartók Music Conservatoire in Budapest. From 1974 until 1983 he was head of the folk music section of Hungarian Radio, then until 1995 he worked as deputy head of their General Department of Music. In recognition of his achievements as a composer, in 1973 and in 1980 he was granted the Erkel Award, in 1987 the title of Artist of Merit, in 1992 the Béla Bartók-Ditta Pásztory Award, in 1999 the Award for Hungarian Art, in 2000 the Kossuth State Award and in 2005 the Kölcsey Memorial Plaquette. In 2014 he was granted the Commander's Cross of the Hungarian Order of Merit and was also chosen to be an Artist of the Nation.
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