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date: 22 October 2019

Vass, Lajoslocked

  • Melinda Berlász

Extract

(b Poroszló, Apr 5, 1927; d Budapest, Nov 6, 1992). Hungarian choirmaster, composer and folksong collector. After Lajos Bárdos, Vass was the last figure of great consequence in the history of the Hungarian choral movement linked with the name of Kodály. He completed his secondary education at a teacher-training college in Debrecen (1941–6), after which he studied composition and singing at the Liszt Academy of Music; he graduated in 1951. His composition teachers were Veress and Ferenc Farkas. He held appointments as conductor (from 1949) and artistic director (1953–7) of the Hungarian Army Art Ensemble, conductor of the Hungarian State Male-Voice (1957–8) and Steel Sound (1960–64) choirs and as chief conductor of the Art Ensemble of the Ironworkers' Union (1964–92).

As choirmaster he was a faithful interpreter of the works of Kodály and Bartók and a disseminator of more recent Hungarian choral works. With his choirs he raised the standard of Hungarian singing to an international level, as attested by the many prizes he won at international competitions. His dynamic personality was well suited to the dissemination of musical knowledge. (He was, among other things, a well-known personality on Hungarian television and radio.) Additionally, he played an important role in the Hungarian folk music revival of the 1970s. Understandably, vocal music lies at the centre of his output. His musical language developed gradually from the early folksong adaptations to a style involving discernible use of dodecaphonic technique. He was awarded the Erkel Prize (...

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