Zoltán Kodály


Working closely with Bela Bartok, Zoltán Kodály resisted classical European musical forms and elevated the folk songs of the Hungarian countryside. Not only did he collect thousands of such songs and dances, he incorporated them into his own compositions. Despite the fact that Austrian-oriented Hungarian concertgoers at first dismissed his efforts, he continued to prize the traditional music of Hungary's peasants. Feeling as strongly as he did about the cultural value of Hungarian folk songs, he developed a program for using them to teach children music in school. From his perspective, they offered an ideal path to musical literacy for youngsters. Kodaly devoted many hours to visiting schools and discussing his ideas with music educators, as well as composing choral pieces for young voices. Thanks to his contributions to the standards for music education in Hungary, along with his work as a composer (e.g. Hary Janos, The Psalmus Hungaricus, etc.), Kodaly ranks as one of Hungary's greatest musicians in the 20th century.
Zoltan Kodaly