Bartók, Béla

BORN 25 Mar 1881, Nagyszentmiklós, Transylvania - DIED 26 Sep 1945, New York City, New York
GRAVE LOCATION Budapest: Farkasrét cemetery (60/1-foút-9/12 (parcel 470))

Béla Bartók was born in Nagyszentmiklós in Transylvania. When he was four years old he was able to play forty tunes on the piano. He studied piano under István Thoman and composition under János Koessler.

Together with Zoltán Kodály he collected Hungarian folk music that influenced his own work. He was also influenced by Debussy, Stravinsky and Richard Strauss (whom he met in 1902), but he developed a style of his own. In 1903 he wrote an orchestral work in honour of Lajos Kossuth.

In 1907 he was appointed professor of piano at the Royal Academy in Budapest. He held this post until 1935. In 1909 he married Márta Ziegler and in 1910 they had a son, Béla junior. He wrote his only opera "Bluebeard's Castle" in 1911. It was only performed in 1918 because of trouble with the government. During the First World War he wrote the ballet "The Wooden Prince". It brought him some fame abroad. Another ballet, "The Miraculous Mandarin", was started in 1918 but only performed in 1926 because of its sexual content.

In 1923 he divorced Martá and married Ditta Pásztory, one of his students. Their son Peter was born in 1924. After the nazis came to power he refused to give concerts in Germany. When his liberal ideas caused him problems in hungary he moved to the United States with Ditta. He gave concerts with Ditta, but he wasn't very well known in America. But then he was commissioned to write "Concerto for Orchestra", which became his most famous work. Next he wrote "Sonata for Solo Violin" for Yehudi Menuhin.

He died in New York in 1945. His unfinished "Viola Concerto" was completed by Tibor Serly. He was buried in Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York. In 1988 his remains were moved to Hungary where a state funeral was held at the Farkasreti Cemetery in Budapest.

Related persons
• was influenced by Debussy, Claude
• was teacher of Solti, Georg
• was influenced by Stravinsky, Igor
• was a friend of Szigeti, Joseph


The grave of Béla Bartók at the Farkasrét cemetery in Budapest.
Picture by androom (21 Aug 2006)


Statue of Bela Bartok by Imre Varga in South Kensington, London.
Picture by Androom (29 May 2014)


• Vórnai, Péter, Budapest Guide, Tourism Office of Budapest, 1999
Encyclopedie van de Muziek, Elsevier, Amsterdam, 1959
Wikipedia (EN):

Bartoli, Matteo Giulio

Published: 16 Jul 2006
Last update: 01 Apr 2022