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.

Petrovics Emil


Place of Birth
Nagybecskerek [Zrenjanin], Jugoszlávia [ma Szerbia]
Date of Birth

9 February 1930 Nagybecskerek [Zrenjanin], Yugoslavia [now Serbia] - 30 June 2011

Composer, one of the most well-known members of the post-war Hungarian composer generation. His wide-ranging oeuvre, being independent from style trends and composer groups, has been mainly inspired by folk music and city folklore.

He was born in a family of musicians; his grandfather on his mother’s side was conductor and organist of the Catholic church in Nagybecskerek. With his mother he moved to and settled down in Hungary after the outbreak of the Second World War. He studied at the composing department of the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music as pupil of Ferenc Farkas. He graduated in 1957 and his compositions for this occasion (Flute Concerto, Cantata No. 1.) are popular interpretation pieces up to now.

In 1955 he came in first place with his composition „Serbian folk songs” at the International Composers’ Competition in Warsaw. In 1959 he won the International Composers’ Competition in Liège with his String Quartet No. 1.

In the early ’50s he was conductor of the factory orchestra of the Szikra Press in Budapest and from 1960 to 1964 he was music director of the Petőfi Theater of the capital. From 1964 he had taught at the University of Theater and Film, and from 1968 at the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music, where in 1979 he became leader of the composing department.

His breakthrough as composer was the opera C’est la guerre (1961). After the premiére the work has been also presented in Nizza, Rostock, Obernhausen, the former Yugoslavia and in the Soviet Union. A similarly important work is the oratorio composed on the text of Jónás könyve (Book of Jonah) by Mihály Babits. Other scenic works are the concert-comic opera Lysistrate (1962), the opera Crime and Punishment (1967-1968) and the dance play Salome.

He composed choral works (these are primarily cantatas composed after the works of Hungarian writers and poets), orchestral works and concertos like Concerto per flauto ed orchestra (1957), Simfonia per archi (1964), Concertino for trumpet and orchestra (1990), Vörösmarty Overture (1993), Lament and meditative - two interludes for string orchestra (1997), Piano concerto (1999), Symphony for grand orchestra No. 2. (2002), Concerto grosso for string orchestra (2004), various compositions for ensemble, chamber orchestra and solo instruments like Cassazione for brass winds (1953), String quintet No. 1. (1959), Four self-portraits in disguise - for harpsichord (1958), Passacaglia in blues - for bassoon and piano (1964), Wind Quintet - for woodwinds (1964), Deux mouvements - for cimbalom (1974), Hungarian children’s songs - for flute and piano (1974), Rhapsody No. 1. - for solo violin (1982), Rhapsody No. 2. - for solo viola (1983), Rhapsody No. 2/a. - for solo cello (1990), String quartet No 2. (1991) and Passamezzo e saltarello - for solo violin and percussion ensemble (2003). These compositions are well-known and popular works at Hungarian and international music competitions. Moreover, he also composed incidental music to about 30 films.

His monograph on Maurice Ravel was released in 1959, while the two volumes of his biography „Self portrait - without a disguise” were released in 2007-2008. Petrovics played a pre-eminent role in the public life of Hungarian art: he was director general of the Hungarian State Opera House (1986-1990 and 2003-2005) and Member of Parliament (1967-1985).

From 1967 to 1999 he worked as president of Artisjus (Hungarian organization for author’s rights) as well. He became member of the Széchenyi Academy for Letters and Arts (1993) and the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts (1991).

In recognition of his work he was awarded with the Erkel Prize (1960 and 1963), the title Merited Artist (1982), the Bartók-Pásztory Award (1989 and 2000), the Kossuth Prize (1966 and 2006) and the Middle Cross of the Order of Merit with the Star from the Hungarian Republic (2005).
Title Type Year
Jóka´s Devil Film music 1964
The Boys from Paul Street Film music 1968
From the Cradle to the School Film music 1960
The Testament of the Aga of Koppány Film music 1967
The Fleeing Prince Film music 1972
Friendship, the Oldest Craft Film music 1970
The Student Film music 1977
Abelard and Heloise Music for the theater 1974
Antonius and Cleopatra Music for the theater 1974
Picture of a Woman on the Folding Screen Music for radio drama 1966
Games Lost Music for radio drama 1956
The Tragedy of Man Music for the theater 1980
The Real Sky-Blue Film music 1957
Death of the Doctor Film music 1965
The Last But One Film music 1963
The Last Circle Film music 1968
Promised Land Film music 1961
Diary of a Madman Music for radio drama 1965
Man Without a Name Film music 1975
Ballad Solo voice(s) a cappella 1963
Barcsai´s Lover, Op. 7 Ballet / Choreographic work 1958
Borika´s Guests Film music 1967
Bubbles Music for radio drama 1971
Bunbury Music for radio drama 1984
Bunbury Music for the theater 1956
Crime and Punishment, Op. 19 Opera 1968
Cassazione, Op. 1 Chamber Music 1953
Concertino, Op. 38 Concerto 1990
Concerto grosso, Op.50 String orchestra 2004
Concerto, Op. 5 Concerto 1957
C´est la guerre, Op. 11 Opera 1961
Dankuro the Pigeon Music for radio drama 1966
The Death of Danton Music for the theater 1963
Deux Mouvements, Op. 24 Chamber Music 1973
Divertimento, Op. 20 Mixed choir 1971
Doctor Nobody Film music 1979
Dóra Reports Film music 1978
A Man Who Does Not Exist Film music 1963
One Hour - Three Faces Film music 1972
Engagement Film music 1959
Black Diamonds Film music 1976
Children Painting Film music 1959
Eternal Light Inn Film music 1981
Wind Quintet, Op. 16 Chamber Music 1964
Gulliver in Lilliput Music for the theater 1965
On Foot to the Heaven Film music 1959
Curly Sheeps, Op. 3 Solo voice(s) a cappella 1955
It is Dawning Ballet / Choreographic work 1959
Hamlet Music for the theater 1977
Harlequin and His Lover Film music 1966
At the Time of Wilting, Op. 35 Female choir 1985
Bridges, Banks, People Film music 1962
Backwaters Film music 1967
Three Songs, Op. 2 Solo voice(s) a cappella 1954
Away From Each Other For Twenty Years Film music 1962
Cantata No. 1, Op. 4 (Alone in the Forrest) Solo voice(s) with ensemble 1956
String Quartet No. 1, Op. 10 Chamber Music 1959
King Louis II Music for the theater 1972
Rhapsody No. 2, Op. 31 Instrumental solo 1983
Cantata No. 2, Op. 21 (Let Me Die There...) Choir and orchestra 1973
Symphony No. 2, Op. 48 Symphony orchestra 2001
String Quartet No. 2, Op. 39 Chamber Music 1991
Cantata No. 3, Op. 26 (Fanny´s legacy) Solo voice(s) with chamber orchestra 1978
String Quartet No. 3 Chamber Music 0
Cantata No. 4, Op. 28 (We Shall All Be Gone) Choir and chamber orchestra 1980
Cantata No. 9, Op. 45 (At the Danube) Solo voice(s) with orchestra 1998
Autumn Star Film music 1962
The Wind is Playing, Op. 6 Mixed choir 1957
Diversion the Museum Film music 1965
Book of Jonah, Op. 17 Solo voice(s), choir & orchestra 1966
Saber and Dice Film music 1959
Two Worlds Ballet / Choreographic work 1958
The Phantom on Horseback Film music 1976
Temptation Film music 1977
Kid Film music 1959
Lamentation Song (Over Imogen´s Grave), Op. 37 Female choir 1987
Slow Dancing Tune, Op. 23 Mixed choir 1974
King Lear Music for the theater 1977
Fan Film music 1960
Stolen Happiness Film music 1962
Lysistraté, Op. 12 Opera 1962
Madrigal, Chanson and Rhapsody, Op. 33 Mixed choir 1984
Hungarian Children´s Songs, Op. 22 Chamber Music 1974
Hugs Killed Ballet / Choreographic work 1972
So Many, Op. 25 Female choir 1976
Tale of the Five Little Chinamen Film music 1957
The Legend About the Death and Resurrection of Two Young Men Film music 1971
What Will Become of You, Esther? Film music 1968
By the Time We Get Old Film music 1978
Mireio Music for radio drama 1955
Where Was Your Majesty Between 3:00 and 5:00? Film music 1964
Why? Film music 1966
Metropolis Mixed choir 1964
Solstice Film music 1978
La musicien par lui-méme, en quatre masques, Op. 8 / Four Masked Self-Portraits, Op. 8 Instrumental solo 1958
Othello Music for the theater 1973
Passacaglia in Blues, Op. 14 Chamber Music 1964
Passamezzo & Saltarello, Op. 49 Chamber Music 0
One Day More, One Day Less Film music 1972
Children are Drawing Film music 1959
Rhapsody No. 2/a, Op. 32 Instrumental solo 1990
Rhapsody, Op. 30 Instrumental solo 1982
Salome Music for the theater 1978
Salome Film music 1982
Shakespeare Song Book, Op. 52 Solo voice(s) with solo instrument(s) 2010
Sinfonina per archi, Op. 13 String orchestra 1964
Lament and Meditation, Op. 44 String orchestra 1997
A Volley for a Black Buffalo Film music 1984
The Sorrow of King Neverbeen Film music 1962
The Margaret Island is Free Ballet / Choreographic work 1959
Serenade for Horn and Piano, Op. 40 Chamber Music 1993
Hello, Vera Film music 1967
Terta Magnetophone Film music 1956
Triangulum, Op. 9 Mixed choir 1958
Fire Balls Film music 1975
Cantata No. 5, Op. 29 (Letters from Turkey) Solo voice(s) with chamber orchestra 1981
Cantata No. 6, Op.36 - "We Will Rest!" Solo voice(s), choir & orchestra 1986
Cantata No. 7, Op. 42 (Pygmalion) Solo voice(s) with orchestra 1995
Cantata No. 8, Op. 43 (Lament and Consolation) Solo voice(s) a cappella 1996
Vörösmarty - Overture, Op. 41 Orchestral work 1993
Yerma Music for the theater 1965
Piano Concerto, Op. 46 Concerto 1999
Zrínyi Music for the theater 1954
April Alarm Film music 1961
Der satan­­archäolügenialko­höllische Wunschpunsch Music for the theater 1993
Sweet and Bitter Film music 1964
Window to the Sky Film music 1961
Klára Élő Film music 1970
Song of Songs Music for radio drama 1963
I Am Upset For You Film music 1967
Music of Seasons, Op. 18 Female choir 1967
Ode to Ferenc Liszt, Op. 47 Choir and solo instrument(s) 2000
New Gilgames Film music 1963