May 28, 1923
Tîrnãveni, Transylvania, Romania
June 12, 2006 in Vienna, Austria
Also Known As:
György Sándor Ligeti was one of the prominent Hungarian composers of the post-war period who developed a music style called "micropolyphony" or sound clusters. In his own words, he defines it as "The complex polyphony of the individual parts is embodied in a harmonic-musical flow, in which the harmonies do not change suddenly, but merge into one another; one clearly discernible interval combination is gradually blurred, and from this cloudiness it is possible to discern a new interval combination taking shape." One of his major compositions wherein he used this technique is "Atmosphères."
Type of Compositions:
He wrote instrumental and vocal music, electronic music, opera, piano etudes and other chamber and orchestral works.
Ligeti was of Hungarian Jewish descent; the violinist Leopold Auer was his great-uncle. He studied at the Budapest Academy of Music where he eventually taught from 1950 to 1956. His early works were influenced by Bartok. He moved to Vienna during the Hungarian Revolution and became an Austrian citizen. Later, he moved to West Berlin where he taught composition at the Hamburg Musikhochschule from 1973 to 1989.
His works include "Artikulation," "Future of Music—A Collective," "Composition," "Poème symphonique," "Atmosphères," "Requiem," "Lux Aeterna," "Aventures," "Nouvelles Aventures," "Cello Concerto," "Clocks and Clouds," "San Francisco Polyphony," "Piano Concerto," "Hamburg Concerto" and "Le Grande Macabre."
Some of Ligeti's works were featured in several films, most notably in the movie "2001: A Space Odyssey" directed by Stanley Kubrick. The said film was released in 1968.
Listen to "Atmosphères" by Gyorgy Ligeti courtesy of YouTube.