Artist database

This is the Artist Database of BMC, which includes information about composers, musicians, orchestras, choirs and groups that are either Hungarian or Hungarian by origin or live in Hungary, as well as information about releases recorded with them.

Durkó Zsolt


Place of Birth
Date of Birth

1934 April 10, Szeged - 1997 April 2, Budapest

By the late 1960s Zsolt Durkó had become in foreign countries the most frequently performed Hungarian contemporary composer.

He obtained his diplomas in composition at the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music, Budapest under Ferenc Farkas; and subsequently in 1961-63 at the Academia di Santa Cecilia in Rome under Goffredo Petrassini. From 1963 he worked as as a free-lance composer. In addition, for six years he taught 20th century music composition at the Academy of Music. From 1982 to his death he worked for the Hungarian Radio as advisor on contemporary music. He was also active in public life: in 1987, he founded the Hungarian Music Society of performing artists and composers; Zsolt Durkó was a president of the society.

His career abroad began at the begining of the sixties, when he won the Premio d'Arti of the Accademia Santa Cecilia in Rome with his orchestral work entitled Episodi sul tema B-A-C-H (1963). His String Quartet No.1 achieved third prize at the Jeunnesses Musicales Composers' Competition held in Montreal, in 1967. His String Quartet No.2 was awarded second prize at the Béla Barók International Composers' Competeition in Budapest, in 1970. The recording of his orchestral work Fioriture was awarded the Special Citation International Koussevitzky Award on Record, in New York, in 1971; and his oratorio Burial Prayer was acclaimed as Distinguished Composition of the Year at the competition Tribune Internationale des Compositeurs held in Paris. His successes on abroad and in Hungary were demonstrated by the commissions he obtained from famous ensembles and institutions, such as the BBC, Fires of London, Philip Jones Brass Ensemble, the Nash Ensemble, Musica Viva Pragensis, the Koussevitzky Foundation, and the Hungarian State Opera.

His musical language is at the same time both Western European and Consciously Hungarian in flavour, and he is able to find a link between the traditional and the most contemporary of musical developments. This personal musical vernacular also finds its place in the greater scheme of contemporary music and is manifested in a remarkably rich oeuvre.

Prizes, awards:
1963 Premio d'Atri, Roma
1967 International Jeunesses Musicales Competition, Montreal, 3rd prize
1968, 1957 Erkel Award
1971 International Béla Bartók Competition, Budapest, 2nd prize
1971 Special Citation International Koussevitzky Award, New York
1975 "Distinguished Composition of the Year" at Unesco's International
Rostrum of Composers, Paris
1978 Kossuth Prize
1983 Merited Artist
1985, 1997 Bartók-Pásztory Award
1987 Excellent Artist
1997 Lajtha László Award
Prizes of public and music critics, Hungarian Radio (eight times)
Year Title Publisher Code Remark
1967 Contemporary Hungarian Music Hungaroton LPX 1298 LP
1969 Contemporary Hungarian Music - Durkó Zsolt: Una rapsodia ungherese; Psicogramma; I. vonósnégyes; Szimbólumok; Fioriture
(Una rapsodia ungherese; Psicogramma; String Quartet No.1; Szimbólumok; Fioriture)
Hungaroton LPX 11363 Own
1971 Nemzetközi Bartók Béla zeneszerző verseny, 1970-1971
(The Béla Bartók International Competition for Composers, 1970-1971)
Hungaroton LPX 11546
1972 Durkó Zsolt: Fire music; Iconography No.1; Iconography No.2; Altamira Hungaroton SLPX 11607 Own
1976 Durkó Zsolt: Kamarazene; Halotti beszéd- oratórium
(Chamber Music; Burial Prayer - Oratorio)
Hungaroton SLPX 11803 Own
1984 Kortárs zongoraművek
(Contemporary Piano Music)
Hungaroton SLPX 12569 / HCD 12569-2
1990 Durkó Zsolt: Refrains; Ornamenti; Laude; Cantata No.2 Hungaroton SLPX 12753 Own
1996 Durkó Zsolt: Altamira; A gömb története; Ikonográfia No.2; Halotti beszéd
(Durkó, Zsolt: Altamira; The History of the Spheres; Iconography No.2; Burial Prayer)
Hungaroton HCD 31654 Own
1999 Kortárs magyar szerzők orgonaművei
(Hungarian Contemporary Organ Music)
Hungaroton HCD 31858
2001 Durkó Zsolt: Magyar rapszódia; Hegedűverseny; Széchenyi-oratórium
(Una rapsodia ungherese; Violin Concerto; Széchenyi Oratorio)
Hungaroton HCD 32027 Own
2001 Kortárs magyar kórusművek
(Hungarian Contemporary Choral Works)
Hungaroton HCD 31956
2004 Music Colors - Hungarian Contemporary Music (1989-2004) BMC HMIC BMC PCD 015 Not for sale - only for promotion
Title Type Year
11 Pezzi / 11 Pieces Chamber Music 1962
The Revelation to St. John Choir and orchestra 1996
A Jelenések könyvének margójára Solo voice(s), choir & orchestra 0
The History of the Spheres Instrumental solo 1991
Altamira Choir and orchestra 1968
Andromeda Instrumental solo 1980
Assonanze Instrumental solo 1972
Ballad Symphony orchestra 1970
Cantilene Concerto 1968
Chance Instrumental solo 1973
Claire Obscure Chamber Music 1984
Concerto Symphony orchestra 1969
Dartmouth Concerto Solo voice(s) with chamber orchestra 1966
Divertimento Instrumental solo 1989
Elegy Film music 1965
Episodi sul thema B-A-C-H Symphony orchestra 1963
Fantasy and Postlude Symphony orchestra 1979
Fioriture Choir and orchestra 1966
Fire Music Chamber Music 1971
Flautocapricco Instrumental solo 1991
Children´s Music Instrumental solo 1978
Burial Prayer Solo voice(s), choir & orchestra 1972
Six Pieces for Guitar Instrumental solo 1990
Six Studies Mixed choir 1972
Violin Concerto Concerto 1993
Huszárik-breviarium Film music 1982
Three English Songs Solo voice(s) with chamber orchestra 1991
Three Essays Chamber Music 1983
Three Rondos Instrumental solo 1984
Seven Melodic Drawings Mixed choir 1974
Cantata No. 1 Solo voice(s) with orchestra 1971
String Quartet, No. 1 Chamber Music 1966
Cantata No. 2 Choir and orchestra 1972
String Quartet No. 2 Chamber Music 1969
Iconography No. 1 Chamber Music 1970
Iconography No. 2 Concerto 1971
Ilmarinen Mixed choir 1986
Impromptus in F Concerto 1983
Improvvisazioni Chamber Music 1965
Chamber Music (In memoriam Natalie and Serge Koussevitzky) Chamber Music 1973
Clarinet Sextet Chamber Music 1987
Colloids Chamber Music 1968
Colloides Concerto 1969
Laude Instrumental solo 1987
Ludus Stellaris Chamber orchestra 1984
Una Rapsodia Ungherese Concerto 1965
Microstructures Instrumental solo 1973
Movements Chamber Music 1980
Moses Opera 1977
Eight Horn Duets Chamber Music 1977
Four Studiesto Words by Attila József Male choir 1972
Octet Ensemble 1988
Organismi Concerto 1964
Ornamenti No. 1 Symphony orchestra 1985
Ornamenti No. 2 / Ornaments No. 2 Symphony orchestra 1985
Snapshots from Kalevala Mixed choir 1986
Psicogramma Instrumental solo 1964
Quartetto d´ottoni / Quartet for Brass Chamber Music 1970
Quartina Instrumental solo 1983
Quattro dialoghi Concerto 1979
Quatuor a Cordes No. 2 Chamber Music 0
Rhapsody Concerto 1979
Refrains Concerto 1979
Résonances Chamber Music 1989
Serenata Chamber Music 1973
Sinfonietta Chamber orchestra 1983
Son et Lumiére / Sound and Light Instrumental solo 1980
Suoni tenebrosi e Corale Concerto 1989
Symbols Chamber Music 1969
A Midsummer Night´s Music Instrumental solo 1981
Sextet Chamber Music 1987
Széchenyi Oratorio Solo voice(s), choir & orchestra 1982
Solo Suite, No. 1 Instrumental solo 1978
Turner Illustrations Concerto 1976
Winter Music Concerto 1983
Dwarfs and Giants Instrumental solo 1974
Una rapsodia ungherese Concerto 1968
Varianti Chamber Music 1974
City with Variations Film music 1965
Fair and Friendship Film music 1966
Piano Concerto Concerto 1981
Five Pieces Chamber Music 1977