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Veress Sándor

Sándor Veress was Born in Kolozsvár (Hungarian Transylvania  today Cluj, Rumania). He studied composition under the tutelage of Zoltán Kodály and piano under Béla Bartók at the Budapest School of Music. He was the assistant of László Lajtha, director of the department for folk music of the Hungarian Ethnographic Museum and undertook travels for research purposes under his own initiative in Hungary, Transylvania and Moldavia. After 1953 he became the assistant of Bartók at the department for folk music of the Hungarian Scientific Academy and, after 1943, professor for composition at Budapest School of Music.

Veress left Hungary in 1949 and settled in Berne, Switzerland, where he remained until his death in 1992. He taught, since 1959, generations of students in the subjects of music theory, theory of harmony and music pedagogy at the conservatory in Berne. He took, in addition, a whole string of students for counterpoint and composition, from which a number later excelled as composers in Switzerland. In other words: Veress influenced a whole generation of composers in Switzerland.

1965 – 67 Veress is guest professor in Baltimore (Teabook Institute), 1967 in Adelaide and 1972 in Portland. After 1968 he was professor extraordinarius, and after 1971 Ordinarius, at the University of Berne.

Sándor Veress represented the second generation of the ‘Budapest School’, of which Béla Bartók and Zoltán Kodály were the founding fathers and masters. For his part he taught such important composers as György Ligeti and György Kurtág in Budapest. However, Veress, similar to Bartók, developed his own autonomous musical language, which although rooted in Hungarian music, was still international. <BR><P>

His comprehensive training was also the basis for a humane and cultural candour that is to be found not only in his early chamber music but also in his medium sized works and the late work he produced in Berne. Most of his later works (after 1950) were world premiered in Berne (Berne Chamber Orchestra, Camerata Berne). He received, in 1976, the large music prize awarded by the canton of Berne, in 1985 the Bartók-Pásztory-Prize, 1986 the Music Prize of the Swiss Association of Musicians, and in 1987 the music prize of the city of Berne. He became a Swiss citizen in 1991 and died one year later in Berne.