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.

Pongrácz Zoltán


Place of Birth
Date of Birth

5 February 1912, Diószeg [Sládkovičovo, Slovakia ] – 3 April 2007, Budapest

He studied composing at the Budapest Music Academy between 1930 and 1935 as pupil of Zoltán Kodály. In 1938-1939 his master was Rudolf Nilius at the conducting department of the Music Academy of Vienna. Later in 1940-41 he studied comparing music science at the Humboldt University in Berlin. He improved his conducting skills as pupil of Clemens Krauss at the Mozarteum in Salzburg (1941).

In 1940-41 he was répétiteur of the Opera House and between 1943 and 1945 the conductor and music director of the Hungarian Radio. From 1954 to 1964 he taught electronic music in the Zoltán Kodály Secondary School for Music in Debrecen, and between 1975 and 1995 at the Ferenc Liszt Music Academy. He was the first one who introduced electronic music as a teaching subject.

From the mid ‘60s on, the artistic interest of Zoltán Pongrácz turned to the electroacoustic music. He spent the school year of 1965/66 in Utrecht, where he was engaged in electronic music – his master was Gottfried Michael Koenig. He graduated in 1966 with his composition titled Chryptothesiphon (later retitled as Phonothése) and from that moment on he became the leading representative of electronic music, both as composer and as teacher. In the beginning he realized his works abroad and in his own home-studio, but from 1974 also in the Electronic Music Studio of the Hungarian Radio. In 1974 he won first prize with his Mariphonia at the international composing contest in Bourge (the proportions of the work were adjusted to the body of his wife, while its sound and rhythm was shaped to her voice by electronic manipulations).

He took part in the establishment of the International Confederation of Electroacoustic Music (centered in Bourges), and later he became vice president and member of the international board of the organization. Since 1992 – and from 1996 to 2000 even as vice president – he was member of the Hungarian Academy of Arts.

Throughout his long career he was honored with many awards. He received the Ferenc József Prize (1939), the “Magister” rank of the GMEB-UNESCO (1988), the title Merited Artist (1989), the Euphonies d’or Prize of France (1992), the Officer’s Cross of Merit of Order of the Hungarian Republic (1992), the Ferenc Erkel Prize (1996) and the Vox electronica Prize of the Hungarian Radio (2000). His compositions were not only presented in Europe, but in North- and South-America, and even in Japan.

Major works:
Operas: Odysseus and Nausikaa (1949-1950), The last station (1989)

Oratorios and cantatas: Legend of the carapace-cutter (1985), Ut omnes unum sint (1998), Missa solemnis (2001-2003), Kossuth-cantata (1992), Apollon Musagetes (1958)

Orchestral works: Symphony (1943), Three etudes for orchestra (1963)

Chamber works: Pastorale (1941), Gamelan music (1942), Three improvisations on percussions and piano (1971), Three bagatelles for percussions (1972), Hungarian antiquities (1986)

Electronic and electroacoustic works: Phonothése (1966), Mariphonia (1972), History of a C-sharp accord (1975), Barysphere (1975), Moving closer and further (1975), Twelve round ribbons (1977), 144 voices (1977), Madrigal (1980), Praise of folly (1980), Concertino for saxophone and electronics (1982), Polar and successive contrasts (1986), Cimbalom concerto accompanied by electronic music (1988).

Books: Book of folk musicians (1965), Present music, present note writing (1971), The electronic music (1980)
Title Type Year
144 Sounds Electroacoustic music 1977
Legend of the Carapace-Scraper Solo voice(s), choir & solo instrument(s) 1985
The Praise of Folly Electroacoustic music 1980
The Two Bajthays Film music 1944
Christmas of the Heartking Music for the theater 1929
The Wild Smith Solo voice(s) with solo instrument(s) 1944
Give Me Your Eyes Solo voice(s) with solo instrument(s) 1946
Apollon Musaget Choir and solo instrument(s) 1958
The Last Station Opera 1989
The devil´s gift Ballet / Choreographic work 1936
The devil´s gift - Suite Solo voice(s), choir & orchestra 0
The Old Lady´s Visit Music for the theater 1967
Ballo ongaro for Orchestra Ensemble 1955
Barysphere Electroacoustic music 1975
Berlin Diary Film music 1941
Burlesque Orchestral work 1937
Concerto for Cimbalom with Electronic Accompaniment Electroacoustic music 1988
Concertino for Saxophone and Electronics Electroacoustic music 1982
In Csallóköz, in Patas Children's choir 1931
Song About the Child Jesus Choir a cappella 1933
Bagpipe Song Mixed choir 1934
Story of a C-Sharp Major Chord Electroacoustic music 1975
On the Spot Solo voice(s) with solo instrument(s) 1997
Once a Prince - Folk Romance Children's choir 1935
Exegi monumentum Mixed choir 1934
Village-mocking Children's choir 1933
French Salad Electroacoustic music 1981
Wind Quintet Chamber Music 1956
Gamelan Music Chamber Music 1942
Sets and Pairs Live and prerecorded music 1968
Sounds and Murmurs Symphony orchestra 1966
Six Soliloquies Instrumental solo 1955
Three Bagatelles Live and prerecorded music 1972
Three Improvisations Live and prerecorded music 1971
Three Small Pieces for Orff-Ensemble Ensemble 1956
Three Folk Songs for Children Children's choir 1935
Three Slovak Folk Songs Solo voice(s) with solo instrument(s) 1938
Three Orchestral Etudes Symphony orchestra 1963
Three Kings´ Day Male choir 1933
Such a Great Love Music for the theater 1958
Ispirazioni Choir and orchestra 1965
Christmas Cantata No. 1 Choir and orchestra 1935
Christmas Cantata No. 2 Solo voice(s), choir & orchestra 1948
Peasant Songs form Kisalföld Male choir 1936
Kispócs Famous Old Town Mixed choir 1934
Greeting of Kodály (Variations on a theme by Kodály) Symphony orchestra 1962
Kossuth Cantata Choir and orchestra 1992
Blue Song Solo voice(s) with chamber orchestra 1944
Two Peasant Songs for Children´s Choir and Orchestra Choir and orchestra 1933
Approaching and Moving Away - Audio Drama Electroacoustic music 1975
Les parfums - Multimedia on Colors, Scents and Sounds Electroacoustic music 1976
Loreley Solo voice(s) with solo instrument(s) 1928
Luna 9 Electroacoustic music 1967
Birds Music for the theater 1938
Madrigal Live and tape music 1980
Bird Song Solo voice(s) with solo instrument(s) 1942
Hungarian Eclogues Symphony orchestra 1933
Hungarian Folk Songs and Folk Dances Chamber Music 1965
Hungarian Antiquities for Thirteen Solo-Instruments Ensemble 1986
Maryphony Electroacoustic music 1972
Heavenly Comedy Solo voice(s) with chamber orchestra 1944
Missa solemnis Choir and orchestra 2003
Négritude Choir and solo instrument(s) 1962
Fourth Time Film music 1942
Music of Nyírség Solo voice(s), choir & chamber orchestra 1965
Name Day Greetings Choir a cappella 1934
Odysseus and Nausikaa Opera 1950
King Oedipus Music for the theater 1959
Pange lingua Female choir 1933
Pastorale Chamber Music 1941
Phonotése Tape music 1966
Plávaj milá (Swim Darling) Mixed choir 1934
Polar and Successive Contrasts Electroacoustic music 1986
Wild Roses of Bratislava Solo voice(s) with solo instrument(s) 1930
Rhapsody Choir and chamber ensemble 1976
Rotations Electroacoustic music 1975
Rosary-Song Mixed choir 1933
Sesquialtera Electroacoustic music 1979
Suite futuriste - Suite for Piano in Five Movements Instrumental solo 1929
Poor Zsuzsi at the Camp Solo voice(s) with solo instrument(s) 1933
St. Emeric Canon Choir a cappella 1933
Symphony - For Symphony Orchestra Symphony orchestra 1943
Symphony - For String Orchestra String orchestra 1938
Slovak Folk Dances Instrumental solo 1939
Sad Lad´s Song Mixed choir 1934
Sonett for Violonello and Piano Chamber Music 1929
Beautiful Hungarian Comedy Music for the theater 1961
Colors and Lines Symphony orchestra 1971
Virgin Mary´s Lamentation Female choir 1938
Dragon Music for the theater 1970
On a Sea-Steamer Solo voice(s) with solo instrument(s) 1944
Toccata Instrumental solo 1957
Ut omnes unum sint Choir and orchestra 1998
Variation boucles (Twelve Tapes) Electroacoustic music 1977
Recruiting Suite Orchestral work 1934
Versenymű cimbalomra és elektronikára !to be determined 0
String Quartet Chamber Music 1938
String Quartet Movement Chamber Music 1929
At the Fair Solo voice(s) with solo instrument(s) 1944
Music for Five Violoncellos Chamber Music 1955
Zoophony - Animal Sounds Electroacoustic music 1973
And the Blind See Film music 1943
New Tones - Folk Songs for Two Part Children´s Choir Children's choir 1935
Úz Bence Film music 1938
I Guard Your Eyes Solo voice(s) with chamber orchestra 1939
After Autumn Dew Choir a cappella 1935