updated 28 November 2017

György Kurtág

Hungarian composer born 19 February 1926 in Lugoj.

Born in Romania in 1926, György Kurtág began studying piano in 1940 with Magda Kardos and composition with Max Eisikovits. He moved to Budapest in 1946, where he studied composition with Sandor Veress and Ferenc Farkas, piano with Pál Kadosa, and chamber music with Leo Weiner.

Unlike his friend Ligeti, Kurtág remained in Hungary, where nearly all of his work was premiered until the 1980s. He did spend some time in Paris from 1957 to 1958, where he studied with Marianne Stein and took classes with Olivier Messiaen and Darius Milhaud. The influence of the latter, along with that of the Concerts du Domaine Musical, directed by Pierre Boulez, fostered a strong connection with the techniques of the Vienna School: especially Arnold Schoenberg and Anton Webern, as well as with Karlheinz Stockhausen’s Gruppen. Kurtág’s time in Paris had a deep and lasting effect on his approach to composition. The first composition he completed upon returning to Budapest, his Quatuor à cordes, is known as his Opus n°1.

Kurtág taught piano and then chamber music at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest from 1967 until his retirement in 1986, and continued teaching for many years after. Játékok (“Games,” 1973-1976), a cycle of piano pieces written for children and inspired by their play, bears witness to Kurtág’s strong commitment to teaching and his innovative pedagogical approach.

Most of Kurtág’s works are limited to short forms, as is evident in the title of his quartet cycle Microludes (1977-1978). In particular, he composes short vocal pieces; voice, for him, is an instrument with new possibilities that reach far beyond its traditional narrative and operatic use. These short pieces are often gathered into cycles, such as Messages de feu Demoiselle Troussova for soprano and ensemble (1976-1980), or Les Propos de Peter Bornemisza, opus 7 (1963-1968). Semantics are a key preoccupation of Kurtág’s. In music composed for poems by Pilinszky, Dalos, Kafka, or Beckett, he highlights as strongly as possible the declamatory dimension of these literary works, underlining their qualities as whole, intelligible units.

Kurtág has great affection for chamber music, as well, having taught it for the greater part of his career. The cymbalom, a traditional Hungarian instrument, appears frequently, in pieces such as Duos (1960-1961) and Szálkák (1973).

With the exception of a few works, such as Stele (1994) for large orchestra, commissioned by Claudio Abbado, and …Concertante … op. 42 for violin, viola, and orchestra (2003), Kurtág rarely wrote major orchestral pieces, preferring smaller groupings and briefer forms, seeking out the essential and working for dramatic concision within a certain asceticism.

An honorary member of several academies in Europe and the United States, Kurtàg was invited for residencies in numerous European cities and received many awards and honors, including the Ernst von Siemens Prize in 1998 and the Grawemeyer Award for …concertante…, Op. 42, in 2006.

© Ircam-Centre Pompidou, 2012


  • Editio Musica Budapest
  • Rachel BECKLES WILLSON : « György Kurtág » ed. L. Macy, Grove Music Online.

By Grégoire Tosser

György Kurtág never tried to form a school, and although he did explicitly and intentionally position himself in the Western classical music tradition, he never followed any particular trend or current. His posture has always been the same: listening, from a distance. His music is imprinted with the influence of a few great — or at least demanding — figures, from Guillaume de Machaut to Olivier Messiaen and Pierre Boulez, with Heinrich Schütz, J.S. Bach, Beethoven, Schumann, Béla Bartók, and Anton Webern in between. And yet his music resembles nothing but itself, whether in form, style, or pacing. A fragmentary collection of musical microcosms, little rooms with a view out into the history of music, Kurtág’s work is bound up in his biography, rooted in the circumstances in which it was composed or recomposed. Often, he has condensed his compositions into the most tightly packed version of themselves. In so doing, he endowed them with incomparable expressive richness.

From Budapest to Paris and Back: From a Post-Bartókian Sound to a Fragmentary Aesthetic

In 1945, Kurtág arrived at the Liszt Ferenc Academy, which was still mourning the loss of its master Bartók, who had died in the United States that same year. There in Budapest, Kurtág met György Ligeti, three years his senior. Ligeti had also crossed the border to come and study, and the two young men became friends. At the Academy, Kurtág studied piano, chamber music, and composition with Pál Kadosa, Leó Weiner, Pál Járdányi, Sándor Veress, and Ferenc Farkas.

Little is known of Kurtág’s work from this period. He allowed his early compositions to be played only rarely, and he withdrew most pieces written during the 1940s and 1950s. His work was strongly influenced by Bartók, as can be heard in the extant short choral pieces or in Suite, a brief piece for piano four hands that he completed between 1950 and 1951 but had sketched out during his teenage years in Romania. A rare longer-format piece from that era is the Concerto for Viola and Orchestra from 1953 and 1954, whose final movement Kurtág removed from his catalog so that the piece is now known only as Movement for Viola and Orchestra. The theme, played by solo viola, bears obvious markers of Bartók in its dynamics and use of tritones — Kurtág’s “mother tongue,” as he was wont to say (see Figure 1).

Figure 1: Movement for Viola and Orchestra, solo viola part, mm. 34-43

With the outbreak of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, Ligeti chose exile to Austria and then Germany. Kurtág, in the throes of a crisis in mental health, remained in Hungary another year. In 1957, he traveled to Paris for a year that would be decisive in his career as a composer. There, he took courses with Darius Milhaud and Messiaen and encountered psychologist Marianne Stein, who specialized in treating mental health issues related to artistic creation. Stein helped Kurtág formulate a dictum that would prove pivotal for him: “Try to combine two sounds, just two sounds.”1 This injunction was revelatory for Kurtág, opening the way for his fragmentary aesthetic and leading him to the extreme condensation that would become characteristic of his output. The following year, in the spring of 1958, he traveled to Cologne where he heard Karlheinz Stockhausen’s Gruppen and Ligeti’s electronic piece Artikulation, both of which had a major impact on him. In 1959, Kurtág returned to Hungary and completed a String Quartet. His numbering it opus 1 reflects the degree to which he considered this work a true starting point for his musical writing. His characteristic fragmentation emerges in its opening measures, which make discreet use of serial techniques; the chromaticism of Webern emerges in coexistence with Kurtág’s deep attachment to the rhythmic folk roots of Bartók and the importance of interval and gesture.

This same creative period featured other works for traditional ensembles, including the Wind Quintet op. 2, also written in 1959, and Eight Piano Pieces op. 3, written in 1960. Kurtág also wrote Eight Duets for violin and cimbalom op. 4. These pieces, all thumpingly brief, juxtapose contrasting worlds and should be compared to Jelek (Signs) for solo viola op. 5, from the same era: their language is trenchant, and fragmentation prevents any kind of development. As in Webern’s work, which Kurtág knew inside out, the fragmentation also gives exceptional emotional charge to even the simplest instrumental gestures (Figure 2).

Figure 2: Jelek for viola, I

By the 1960s, Kurtág was working as a répétiteur at the Béla Bartók School of Music; in 1967 he also began teaching piano and chamber music at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest. Between January 1963 and August 1968 he composed Bornemisza Péter mondásai (The Sayings of Péter Bornemisza) op. 7 (revised in 1976), for soprano and piano, excerpting text from the sermons of a fourteenth-century Hungarian bishop.2 The forty-minute piece, which premiered at Darmstadt at the end of the 1968 summer session, is so demanding of both singer and pianist that it has been described as a “concerto for voice and piano.” For the most part, the piece’s vocal techniques are based in the syllabics of the Hungarian language; Bornemisza’s Hungarian ranges from flowery and poetic to violent and vulgar, requiring great emotional range. These techniques blend with influences ranging from Heinrich Schütz to Arnold Schoenberg as well as Bach and Beethoven, displaying Kurtág’s constant and deliberate anchoring in music history. The piano part also requires extreme virtuosity; its rhythmic difficulties and variations in dynamics, nuance, and length suggest a serialist influence. This first opus for voice reveals Kurtág’s desire to create a concordance between text and music through tone painting and foregrounds a parlando-rubato style in the melody. Its overall form is fragmented, choppy, presenting as a cluster of instants. Kurtág’s assembly, his composition, of different excerpts, reveals the meticulous organization of the piece’s overarching architecture, built around short, recurring motifs that have clear character and carry strong symbolic weight. One such example is shown in Figure 3. Known as “Virág az ember” (Man Is a Flower), this piece holds a central place in his work and is one of the movements in Játékok (Games) for piano.

Figure 3: Excerpt from Játékok

Játékok: A short-form encyclopedia of poetry and music

In 1973, as Kurtág was traversing yet another mental health crisis, a piano teacher named Marianne Teöke asked him to write a few pieces for children. These would become Játékok, now an eight-volume collection containing more than 300 pieces.3 Their utility as “pedagogical performance pieces” intertwines with a veritable poetry of the short form. Among these “microludes,” or miniature games, are exercises, dances, popular songs and Gregorian chants, memorial pieces, tributes, and more. With Játékok Kurtág showcases the playful, dramatic, theatrical, and above all performative side of music: the pieces engage the whole body and make experimentation a key focus. In this sense, they contrast with Bartók’s Mikrokosmos or with traditional piano methods:

The idea of composing Játékok was suggested by children playing spontaneously, children for whom the piano still means a toy. They experiment with it, caress it, attack it, and run their fingers over it. They pile up seemingly disconnected sounds, and if this happens to arouse their musical instinct they look consciously for some of the harmonies found by chance and keep repeating them.

Thus, this series does not provide a tutor, nor does it simply stand as a collection of pieces. It is possibly for experimenting and not for learning “to play the piano”. Pleasure in playing, the joy of movement — daring and if need be fast movement over the entire keyboard right from the first lessons instead of the clumsy groping for keys and the counting of rhythms — all these rather vague ideas lay at the outset of the creation of this collection.

Playing is just playing. It requires a great deal of freedom and initiative from the performer. On no account should the written image be taken seriously but the written image must be taken extremely seriously as regards the musical process, the quality of sound and silence. We should trust the picture of the printed notes and let it exert its influence upon us. The graphic picture conveys an idea about the arrangement in time of even the most free pieces. We should make use of all that we know and remember of free declamation, folk-music, parlando-rubato, of Gregorian chant, and of all that improvisational musical practice has ever brought forth. Let us tackle bravely even the most difficult task without being afraid of making mistakes: we should try to create valid proportions, unity and continuity out of the long and short values — just for our own pleasure!4

This passage, taken from Kurtág’s introduction to Játékok describes certain principles that hold true for his entire oeuvre.

  1. Music is a game — serious, of course, but it must maintain spontaneity and some part of childlike play.
  2. Music is a text, or better: a discourse — music cannot ever banish its linguistic dimension; it speaks.
  3. Music is first of all interpretation — it must mobilize all of our knowledge, our memory, our being, but it is made to vibrate, to resonate: it is made only when it becomes actual sound.
  4. Music is an act of communication, the creation of relationship, a message — it is difficult to find a Kurtág piece that was not written for a specific circumstance or person. It bears the mark of something outside itself, owes its existence to (auto)biographical events, is inscribed in what is lived, in the living. The aesthetic of quotation, of reference, of allusion, contributes to this tendency.

Figure 4
Above: the beginning of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, First Concerto for piano5
Below: Játékok, vol. I, Homage to Tchaikovsky

This piece combines two important notions: the “found object” and the “stolen object.” The first describes a player’s immediate, instinctive apprehension of an instrument — here, for example, the piece is played with the palms of the hand. Another example would be the slow ascending arpeggios on the six open strings of the guitar at the beginning of Grabstein für Stefan (Stefan’s Tombstone) op. 15c (1978-1979). The “stolen object” involves quoting or stealing a musical phrase whose origin is audible, manifest — in Figure 4, the arrival of the piano from Tchaikovsky’s first piano concerto. Thus, the third part of Omaggio a Luigi Nono (Homage to Luigi Nono) op. 16 for mixed a cappella choir (1979), Rimma Dalos’s lines (“Love for months / Suffering for years / This is how everything happened”) suggest to Kurtág a quotation from the beginning of Richard Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde, whose leitmotiv can be immediately identified in the ascending sixth with a hold on the high note and the descent beginning with a semitone.

Játékokis a kind of distillation of all of Kurtág’s music, resembling an immense notebook in which he claimed to have written “the shortest possible pieces, where the material is exploited to the greatest degree possible” and constantly reused.6 For a given ensemble or concert, performers must choose their pieces from this vast compilation and compose a program with some kind of coherent order, connecting fragments (or even other composers) that were not originally intended to rub shoulders. In this context, transcription and homages are central in creating an intertextual constellation-community. In the 1990s, Kurtág crafted several “composed programs.” A notable example is thePortraitkonzert(10 August 1993) built around both pieces in op. 27 and Rückblick: Altes und Neues für vier Spieler (Review: Old and New for Four Players), an homage to Stockhausen for trumpet, double bass, and keyboards (1993). Another is the now famous assemblage that Kurtág and his wife, on two- and four-hand piano, created from pieces fromJátékokand certainTranscriptions from Machaut to J.S. Bach (1974-1991).

Troussova and the decade of vocal aphorism

At the end of the 1970s, Boulez was putting together the repertoire of the new Ensemble Intercontemporain. As he read through scores, he discovered The Sayings of Péter Bornemisza. In that same context, Kurtág gave Boulez the score of his latest work, Poslanija pokojnoj R. V. Trusovoj (Messages of the late R. V. Troussova) op. 17 (1976-1980) for soprano and thirteen instrumentalists, a setting of twenty-one Russian poems by Dalos. This work premiered in Paris in January 1981 and brought Kurtág, who was forty-five at the time, definitive recognition as a composer. An unclassifiable work that in some way evokes Schoenberg’s Erwartung,7 Messages is a sensual and painful autobiographical piece. In this fascinating musical space, Kurtág displays a peerless understanding of the semiotic and semantic range of language — while retaining elements of madrigals and Romantic turns of expression.

Figure 5, Messages of the Late R.V. Troussova, II. 3.
Text: “Why / should I not squeal like a pig / When the world all around is grunting?”

The following decade was dominated by vocal pieces, mainly written for the soprano Adrienne Csengery: Hét dal (Seven Songs) op. 22 to poems by Amy Károlyi (1981), Stsenï iz romana (Scenes from a Novel) op. 19 (1981-1982) and Requiem po drugu (Requiem for a Friend) op. 26 (1982-1987) to poems by Dalos, József Attila-töredékek (Attila József Fragments) op. 20 (1981-1982), Kafka-Fragmente op. 24 (1985), and Három régi felirat (Three Ancient Inscriptions) op. 25 (1986-1987). In these pieces, the soprano’s voice is a constant, accompanied by various ensembles and in various languages — Hungarian, German, and Russian. Kurtág learned Russian in order to read Fyodor Dostoevsky, and then discovered the great poets of that language, including Ossip Mandelstam, Marina Tsvétaïeva, Anna Akhmatova, Sergei Yesenin, Mikhail Lermontov, and Alexander Blok, whose words he set to music in Pesni Unïniya i Pechali (Songs of Despair and Sorrow) op. 18, for mixed double choir and instruments (1980-1994) and in Four Songs to Poems by Anna Akhmatova op. 41 for soprano and ensemble (1997-2009). Kurtág also learned French and English in the late 1980s and early 1990s (applied in op. 30 and op. 36) and set ancient Greek texts to music in certain isolated or unpublished pieces. Searching for a satisfying balance between musical and literary forms, he naturally chose brief poetic or literary forms as texts for his vocal works, such as haikus, aphorisms, maxims, fragmentary or incomplete poems, sketches, and journal entries.

Since writing his String Quartet op. 1, Kurtág has given pride of place to this ensemble: before Officium breve in memoriam Andreae Szervánszky op. 28 (1988-1989), and Six moments musicaux for string quartet (1999-2005), Twelve Microludes in homage to András Mihály (1977-1978) adopted a simple, undeveloped form, tripartite in many movements and featuring contrasting elements (call, response, coda) — “balanced sound objects,” in the words of Kurtág. His Twelve Microludes travel a path through the twelve semitones of the chromatic scale, similar to Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier. Each of the movements, which sometimes follow one another with no interruption, creates a different climate. In Microlude no. 5, “Scraps of a Colinda Melody” are intercut with held harmonics, recreating the far-off, fragmentary, melancholic feeling of remembering a children’s Christmas carol sung in Kurtág’s native Banat.8

In the 1980s, Kurtág focused ever more strongly on concentrated material. He wrote no large-scale pieces — only juxtaposed aphorisms in broad, fragmented, and disjointed structures. His strong personality was balanced by its singularity and also by his modesty: his musical language continued to stand apart, notably as he retained conventional writing methods while technology advanced.9 Moreover, he had no interest in theoretical writing. The only thoughts he recorded about his music may be found in Laudatio for György Ligeti,10 a few interviews, and three short prefaces to scores (Játékok, op. 28, and op. 37). He also did not have time for musicological discourse; in his chamber music classes and master classes, his discourse was purely interpretive. It expanded on his unique way of understanding, playing, and living music.

The 1990s and 2000s: the same path

At the end of the 1980s, Kurtág became interested in larger instrumental formations, sometimes spatialized, as in …quasi una fantasia… op. 27, no. 1 (1987-1988, for piano and instrumental ensembles), and the Double Concerto op. 27, no. 2 (1989-1990, for piano, cello, and two ensembles). He added to his compositions for the singer Ildikó Monyók with Samuel Beckett: mi is a szó op. 30a for voice and piano (1990) and Samuel Beckett: What Is the Word op. 30b for mixed voices, recitation, and chamber ensembles (1990-1991), which is a musical setting for Beckett’s last poem, Comment dire (written in French in 1988), conjointly with its English and Hungarian translations. Similar to Beckett, Monyók suffered from aphasia, and the work’s progression appears as a difficult reintroduction to speech. The voice reenacts relearning language and the ability to signify through highly varied forms: recitation, Sprechgesang, murmurs, shouts, declamation, laughter, parlando-rubato, stammering, etc.

After retiring from teaching in 1986, Kurtág devoted his time to his favorite activities: composition and work with performers. These he did in many countries, including the Netherlands, Germany, the United Kingdom, and, after 2000, mainly France. The performers who have collaborated with Kurtág describe working with him as a decisive experience: he can be excessive and demanding, with contagious passion. Indeed, he might be said to be creating his own oral tradition of performance, condensing an entire course in music history into two sentences, associating his rigorous and sure taste with a, at times, childlike approach. For Kurtág, these collaborations are the central locus of creation; he can only craft a piece if there is a concrete possibility of its becoming sound: he writes with and for performers.

His return to large orchestral works came with Stele op. 33 (1994), whose composition was undertaken during a residency with the Berlin Philharmonic. Written in three movements, the work is in parts an arrangement of existing pieces, as are his collection op. 34 for orchestra (1991-1996) and Új üzenetek zenekarra (New Messages for Orchestra) op. 34a (1998-2008). More recent vocal pieces bring together fragments that play with the expressive and dramatic qualities of the human voice. Examples include settings of Friedrich Hölderlin (Hölderlin-Gesänge [Songs of Hölderlin, 1993-1997] for solo baritone and instruments), Beckett (…pas à pas — nulle part… [Poems by Beckett, 1993-1998] for baritone, percussion, and string trio), and Lichtenberg (Einige Sätze aus den Sudelbüchern Georg Christoph Lichtenbergs [A few sentences from the Sudelbücher of Georg Christoph Lichtenberg, 1996], a work for solo soprano that was subsequently revised for soprano and double bass in 1999).

Kurtág’s ability to return to the same material to transpose or rewrite it is a significant facet of his work, making these pieces fundamentally dependent on the works from which they were crafted. In this vein, one of his most complex works in terms of intertextuality, quotation, and recomposition is Homage to R. Sch. op. 15d for clarinet, viola, and piano (1990). A remarkable genealogy can be traced from the piece, reaching back to Robert Schumann, but also to József and Machaut, as well as to pieces by Kurtág himself.11

Chamber music in some ways has become a new Játékok, in that it is a through-line with diverse combinations and formations: Jeux et messages for woodwinds and Signes, jeux et messages for strings are collections that are in progress and transcribe older pieces while incorporating new elements. Viola player Ken Hakii and violinist Hiromi Kikuchi, to whom Hipartita op. 43 for solo violin (2000-2004) is dedicated, played a major role in the dissemination and performance of pieces from the latter collection. …concertante… op. 42 for violin, viola, and orchestra (2003), which is also dedicated to Hakii and Kikuchi, presents an expansive form in which the juxtaposition of motifs and silence highlights the fragmentary writing at work in the piece.

Kurtág, a twentieth-century honnête homme, has created a body of multilingual music rooted in its own history, ancestry, and influences. While both immediate and direct, his music nevertheless holds expressive depths and cultivated ties to language. Conceived as a “continuous quest,”12 his music is a space in which writing and rewriting take place: the work is fragmentary, both product and process, intended to be perpetually revisited, brought back to the workbench, offered up as is — incomplete.

1. One can hear, in the first song of Négy dal Pilinszky János verseire (Four songs to the poems of János Pilinszky, 1973-1975), op. 11 for bass and chamber orchestra, an example of the pervasiveness of this affirmation: as it declaims, the voice seems unable to move away from the D until, in a last effort, it reaches a C-sharp and a C-natural. 
2. Kurtág had considered adapting Bornemisza’s staged play Magyar Elektra as an opera. 
3. The more recent volumes (V to VIII were published starting in 1995, while the first four volumes were published in 1979) are groupings of “personal messages and diary entries,” and thus explicitly anchor Kurtág’s music in the realm of the autobiographical. 
4. György KURTÁG, score description for Játékok: Vol. 5 Edito Musica Budapest. 
5. This is the piano reduction for two pianos: piano II plays the orchestra while piano I plays the solo piano part, which is the one imitated by Kurtág. 
6. György KURTÁG, “Játékok: A Lesson by György Kurtág,” transl. (into French) by Stella Senes, in Philippe ALBÈRA (ed.), György Kurtág: entretiens, textes, écrits sur son œuvre, Geneva, Contrechamps, 1995, p. 27. 
7. Is it a song cycle, an opera with no staging? Soprano Adrienne Csengery describes it as a “monodrama” (in ALBÈRA [ed.], György Kurtág…, p. 63), in that the musical forces he marshals are at once lyrical and dramatic, and placed entirely at the service of the text, although without any reference to staging. 
8. Microlude no. 5 is reprised in the last movement of …quasi una fantasia… op. 27, no. 1. 
9. Following several long periods of improvisation, and with a mix of pleasure and reticence, he attempted some co-compositions with his son, a passionate user of computer music technology in composition: Lajka-emlék (Memory of Laïka) for tape (1990) and Zwiegespräch (Conversation for Two) for string quartet and electronics (1999-2000). 
10. In Philippe ALBÈRA (ed.), György Kurtág…, pp. 43-54. 
11. See, notably, Friedemann Sallis, “The Genealogy of György Kurtág’s Hommage à R. Sch., op. 15d,” in Péter HALÁSZ (ed.), Studia Musicologica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae, vol. XLIII, fasc. 3-4 [Hommage à Kurtág], 2002, pp. 311-322. 
12. “I have a very primitive way of thinking about music: as a continuous quest” (Kurtág, cited in Philippe ALBÈRA [ed.], György Kurtág…, p. 7). 

© Ircam-Centre Pompidou, 2009



  • Philippe ALBÈRA (sous la dir. de), György Kurtág. Entretiens, textes, dessins: trois entretiens avec Bálint András Varga, deux hommages à György Ligeti et autres textes, éditions Contrechamps, Genève, 2009 [nouvelle édition, revue et complétée de :*György Kurtág.*Entretiens, textes, écrits sur son œuvre, Genève, Contrechamps, 1995].
  • István BALÁZS, « György Kurtág XE “Kurtág” : Attila József XE “József” -Fragmente op. 20 XE “op. 20” für Sopran solo », Melos, vol. XLVIII/1, 1986/1, p. 31-62.
  • Rachel BECKLES WILLSON & Alan E. WILLIAMS (sous la dir. de), Contemporary Music Review, vol. 20, part 2 + 3, 2001 [Ce numéro s’intitule: Perspectives on Kurtág].
  • Tobias BLEEK, « Eine „mißverstandene“ Kompositionsaufgabe als Ausweg. Zu Kurtágs unpublizierten Klavierstücken 1957-58 », Mitteilungen der Paul Sacher Stiftung, n° 21, April 2008, p. 32-37.
  • Haydée CHARBAGI, « Comment le dire ? Sur …pas à pas – nulle part… », Po&sie, n° 120, 2007, p. 142-164.
  • FESTIVAL D’AUTOMNE À PARIS, György Kurtág [Brochure réalisée par le Festival d’automne à Paris], Paris, Festival d’automne à Paris, 1994. 
  • Péter HALÁSZ (sous la dir. de), Studia Musicologica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae, tomus XLIII, fasciculi 3-4, 2002 [Ce numéro s’intitule: Hommage à Kurtág].
  • Peter HOFFMANN, « Post-webernsche Musik ? György Kurtágs Webern-Rezeption am Beispiel seines Streichquartett op. 28 », Musiktheorie, n° VII/2, Feb. 1992, p. 129-148.
  • György KROÓ, « Les Dits de Péter Bornemisza de György Kurtág, trad. par Mireille T. Tóth, dans Philippe ALBÈRA (sous la dir. de), op. cit., p. 99-144.
  • György KURTÁG, Entretiens, textes, dessins, trois entretiens avec Bálint András Varga, deux hommages à György Ligeti et autres textes, éditions Contrechamps, Genève, 2009.
  • György KURTÁG, « Játékok : une leçon de György Kurtág », trad. par Stella Senes, dans Philippe ALBÈRA (sous la dir. de), op. cit., p. 21-31.
  • Pierre MARÉCHAUX & Grégoire TOSSER (sous la dir. de), Ligatures : la pensée musicale de György Kurtág, Rennes, Presses Universitaires de Rennes, coll. « Aesthetica », 2009.
  • Jean-Paul OLIVE (sous la dir. de), La Musique et la création de György Kurtág [actes du colloque de l’Institut hongrois de Paris, mai 2006], Paris, L’Harmattan, coll. « Arts 8 », 2009.
  • Friedemann SALLIS, « The Genealogy of György Kurtág’s Hommage à R. Sch., op. 15d », dans Péter HALÁSZ (sous la dir. de), op. cit., p. 311-322.
  • Friedemann SALLIS, « Fleurs recyclées : sur les traces de relations souterraines dans l’Officium Breve in memoriam Andreæ Szervánszky opus 28 pour quatuor à cordes de György Kurtág », Circuit, vol. 18, n° 1, 2008, p. 45-58.
  • Claudia STAHL, Botschaften in Fragmenten : die Großen Vokalzyklen von György Kurtág, Saarbrücken, Pfau, 1998.
  • Grégoire TOSSER, « Hommages en fragments : le chemin entre György Kurtág et Luigi Nono », Drammaturgia Musicale e altri studi, fascicolo 2, inverno 2004, p. 45-67.
  • Bálint András VARGA, « György et Márta Kurtág s’entretiennent avec Bálint András Varga (Vienne, le 25 septembre 1996) », Po&sie, n° 120, 2007, p. 165-181.


  • György KURTÁG, Kurtág’s Ghosts, Marino Formenti : piano, œuvres de György Kurtág, Guillaume de Mauchaut, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Olivier Messiaen, Pierre Boulez, Modest Mussorgsky, Domenico Scarlatti, Jean-Sébastien Bach, Joseph Haydn, Franz Schubert, Bela Bartók, Ludwig van Beethoven, Henry Purcell, Robert Schumann, leos Janácek, Frédéric Chopin, György Ligeti, Franz Liszt, 2 cds 2009, n° 0012902KAI.
  • György KURTÁG, Jeux et Transcriptions de Machaut à J. S. Bach [sélections 1 et 2], Gábor Csalog (avec la participation de András Kemenes, Ha Neul-Bit, Aliz Asztalos, Márta et György Kurtág), piano, 2 CD séparés Budapest Music Center, BMC 123 et 139, 2006 et 2008 [Játékok, enregistré entre 2003 et 2005].
  • György KURTÁG, …concertante… op. 42, Hipartita op. 43, Zwiegespräch, Sélection de Jeux et de Transcriptions de Machaut à J. S. Bach, György et Márta Kurtág, piano droit avec sourdine d’étude, Quatuor Keller, György Kurtág Junior, synthétiseur, Hiromi Kikuchi, violon, Ken Hakii, alto, Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra dirigé par Zoltán Kocsis, 1 CD Budapest Music Center, BMC 129, 2007 [Kurtág : 80, enregistré en public en février 2006].
  • György KURTÁG, Hölderlin-Gesänge op. 35a, …pas à pas – nulle part… op. 36, Extraits des Signes, jeux et messages pour cordes, Kurt Widmer, baryton, Heinrich Huber, trombone, David LeClair, tuba, Mircea Ardeleanu, percussion, Orlando Trio, 1 CD ECM New Series 1730, n° 461 833-2, 2003 [enregistré en 2002].
  • György KURTÁG, S.K. – Bruit-souvenir op. 12, Messages de feu Demoiselle R. V. Troussova op. 17, Scènes d’un roman op. 19, Fragments d’Attila József op. 20, Adieu op. 26 n° 4, Adrienne Csengery, soprano, Márta Fábián, cymbalum, András Keller, violon, Ferenc Csontos, contrebasse, György Kurtág, piano, Budapest Chamber Ensemble dirigé par András Mihály, 1 CD Hungaroton, HCD 31821, 1998 [Works for soprano, enregistré entre 1982 et 1994].
  • György KURTÁG, Extraits des Jeuxet des Transcriptions de Machaut à J. S. Bach, Márta et György Kurtág, piano, 1 CD ECM New Series 1619, n° 453 511-2, 1997 [enregistré en 1996].
  • György KURTÁG, Tombeau de Stephan op. 15c et Stèle op. 33, Jürgen Ruck, guitare, Orchestre philharmonique de Berlin dirigé par Claudio Abbado, 1 CD Deutsche Grammophon, DG 447 761-2, 1996 [enregistré en 1994].
  • György KURTÁG, Fragments de Kafka op. 24, Adrienne Csengery, soprano, András Keller, violon, 1 CD Hungaroton, HCD 31135, 1995 [enregistré en 1990].
  • György KURTÁG, Signes op. 5, Hommage à R. Sch. op. 15d, Extraits des Signes, jeux et messages pour alto solo, Eduard Brunner, clarinette, Kim Kashkashian, alto, Robert Levin, piano, 1 CD ECM New Series 1508, 437 957-2, 1995 [enregistré en 1992 et 1994].
  • György KURTÁG, Extraits des Jeux, des Signes, jeux et messages*, et desTranscriptions de Machaut à J. S. Bach,Tombeau de Stephanop. 15c,Trois inscriptions anciennesop. 25,Requiem pour un amiop. 26,…quasi una fantasia…op. 27 n° 1,Op. 27 n° 2 [Double concerto],Samuel Beckett : Comment direop. 30b,*Ligatura-message à Frances-Marie (The Answered Unanswered Question)*op. 31b, etc., Adrienne Csengery, soprano, Zoltán Gál, alto, Márta et György Kurtág, piano, Quatuor Keller, Miklós Perényi, violoncelle, Zoltán Kocsis, célesta et piano, Ildikó Monyók, alto (récitation), Solisten des Tomkins Vokalensemble, Budapester Festival Orchester dirigé par Péter Eötvös, 2 CD Col Legno, WWE 31870, 1994 [Portraitkonzert : Salzburg 10.8.1993, enregistrement public].
  • György KURTÁG, Quatuor à cordes op. 1, Hommage à András Mihály : 12 microludes op. 13, Officium breve in memoriam Andreæ Szervánszky op. 28, Quatuor Arditti, 1 CD WDR / Audivis / Montaigne, MO 789007, 1994 [Arditti Quartet Edition 9, enregistré en 1990].
  • György KURTÁG, Huit pièces pour piano op. 3, Huit duos pour violon et cymbalum op. 4, Les Dits de Péter Bornemisza op. 7, Quatre chants sur des poèmes de János Pilinszky op. 11, etc., István Antal, piano, Zoltán Kocsis, piano, Judit Hevesi, violon, József Szalay, cymbalum, István Gáti, baryton-basse, Ensemble instrumental dirigé par András Mihály, Erika Sziklay, soprano, Loránt Szűcs, piano, 1 cd Hungaroton, HCD 31290, 1990 [Works by György Kurtág XE “Kurtág” , enregistré entre 1965 et 1986].


Film documentaire

  • Judit KELE,L’Homme allumette suivi de Exercices, Les films d’Ici, ZDF / Arte, Hunnia film studio, France supervision, Centre Georges Pompidou, Sacem, Image Création, 1 DVD Juxtapositions / Ideal Audience International, DVD9DS16, 2006 [Films datant de 1996].
DVD proposant des œuvres de Kurtág
  • Eszter PETROVICS, Programme composé mêlant des extraits de L’Art de la fugue de Bach avec des œuvres de Kurtág : Hommage à András Mihály : 12 microludes op. 13, Officium breve in memoriam Andreæ Szervánszky op. 28, Quatre extraits des Signs, Games and Messages, Ligatura, Quatuor Keller, 1 dvd EuroArts 2050759, 2004 [Enregistré en 2000].
  • János DARVAS, Quinze extraits des Jeux, Zoltán Kocsis, piano, 1 dvd Ideal Audience / ARTE France / INA / Naïve, DR 2100 AV 103, 2003 [« La Roque d’Anthéron / Les pianos de la nuit », enregistrement public en 2002].

Liens Internet

(liens vérifiés en novembre 2017).