Étude No. 6 'Automne à Varsovie'

György Ligeti (1923-2006) Étude No. 6 'Automne à Varsovie' (1985)

György Ligeti was born in Dicsöszentmárton (today named Tîrnaveni), Romania. His parents belonged to the Hungarian-Jewish minority in Transylvania, and while he was still a child they moved with him to Cluj (Klausenburg), where he began to receive instruction in composition with Ferenc Farkas in 1941. The Nazi regime tore his family apart and while his mother survived Auschwitz his brother and father died in concentration camps, and György himself was submitted to forced labor.

After the war ended, Ligeti continued his composition studies at the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music in Budapest with Ferenc Farkas and Sándor Veress. In addition to his focus on folk music, he began to develop a micropolyphonic technique (the use of intervals smaller than the common half-step). In the late 1950s Ligeti left to study electronic music at the West German Radio (WDR), and was introduced to the music of Mauricio Kagel, Pierre Boulez, and Karlheinz Stockhausen.

From 1961 to 1971, he was guest professor for composition in Stockholm, in 1972 he was Composer in Residence at Stanford University, and from 1973 to 1989 he taught at the Hochschule für Musik in Hamburg. György Ligeti died in Vienna on June 12, 2006 at the age of 83. Of his music Ligeti reflected: “I almost always associate colors, form and consistencies with sounds, and vice versa, also associate all acoustic sensations with form, color and material properties. Even abstract terms such as quantity, relationships, coherences and processes appear to me to be sensualised and have their place in an imaginary space.”