Chronology

1907

February 1. Sándor Veress born in Kolozsvár / Cluj / Klausenburg (formerly Austria-Hungary, nowadays Romania).

1916

The family moves to Budapest.

1923 - 32

Studies the piano at the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music under Emánuel Hegyi, and, later, Béla Bartók.

1925 - 30

Studies composition with Zoltán Kodály.

1929 - 33

Works as volunteer with László Lajtha at the Museum of Ethnography, studies ethno-musicological methods of research.

1930

Ethno-musicological fieldwork at the Csángó-Magyars in Romanian Moldavia.

1933

The First String Quartet premiered in the great hall of the Music Academy by the early Végh Quartet (Végh, Szervánszky, Koromzay, Palotay).

1935 - 40

Works as Bartók's assistant at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Cooperates in Bartók's research project concerning the collection and scientific systematization of Hungarian folksong material.

1935

First String Quartet performed at the ISCM Festival in Prague.

1937

Second String Quartet premiered at the ISCM Festival in Paris.

1938 - 39

Study visit to London. Performance of the Divertimento under Constant Lambert. Return to Hungary shortly after the beginning of World War II.

1942

Cooperation with Aurél von Milloss for the ballet Térszili Katicza in Rome. In addition, Veress attends numerous rehearsals for a production of Berg's Wozzeck by Milloss and Serafin at the Teatro dell'Opera - what he will judge later as a crucial experience for his further development as a composer. Gets in touch with his future main publisher in Milan, Edizioni Suvini Zerboni.

1943

Succeeds Kodály at the Academy of Music. Among his pupils will be György Ligeti and György Kurtág.

1945

Joins the Communist Party and gets involved in its musical committee, as well as in the new Hungarian musicians' union. September 26: Bartók dies in New York. - October: First performance of Veress's Threnos (in memoriam Béla Bartók)

1947

Increasing resignation in view of the political process towards a one-party-monopoly under the surface of a formally still working coalition regime. February - autumn: Follows an invitation to London by the British Council, which he prolongs in order to find a post in the UK.

1948

Member of the jury at the International Eisteddfod in Llangollen (Wales) and official delegate at the International Folk Music Council in Basel, where he gets in touch with Paul Sacher. Veress is offered a professorship at the Pennsylvania College for Women in Pittsburgh, which he subsequently fails to take up because of official reservations towards his immigration to the US.

1949

Year of emigration. February 6: Leaves Hungary forever. March: First performances of Térszili Katicza in Stockholm and Rome, where he will stay till November. February / March: Veress is awarded the 1949 Kossuth Prize for composition, which he does not receive. Invitation for lectures in ethno-musicology during a guest semester at the University of Berne (Switzerland) on recommendation of Ottó Gombosi. November 26: Arrival in Berne.

1950 ff.

Teaches composition, musical pedagogy and theoretical subjects at the Conservatory of Berne. Among others, Heinz Holliger, Heinz Marti, Roland Moser, Urs Peter Schneider, János Tamás and Jürg Wyttenbach will be his pupils. Veress gets in touch with Klee's painting through his Basel friends Oscar and Annie Müller-Widmann. The composition of Hommage à Paul Klee, commissioned by Hermann Müller, conductor of the Bernese Chamber Orchestra, reflects this experience.

1951

Probably on the occasion of a concert in Munich, Veress makes the acquaintance of Fritz Büchtger, with whom he discusses theoretical problems around dodecaphony.

1954

The first twelve-tone-compositions of Veress's Swiss period are premiered: the Piano Concerto, commissioned and directed by Paul Sacher, with Veress himself as soloist (Baden-Baden, January 19); the Sinfonia Minneapolitana, commissioned by the Frederick Mann Foundation and conducted by Antal Doráti, his former colleague at the Kodály class (Minneapolis, March 12); the String Trio, written for and performed by the Trio Redditi (Venice, September 19).

1955 - 68

The pianist Ilse von Alpenheim, Veress's long-term partner in these years, performs a great deal of his piano repertory - esp. the Piano Concerto - throughout the fifties and sixties in Switzerland, Germany and the UK.On February 4, 1965, she plays the Concerto in Budapest (together with György Lehel, conducting the National Concert Orchestra).

1961 / 62

First performances of the Passacaglia concertante and the Concerto for String Quartet by their commissioners, Heinz Holliger (Lucerne, August 31, 1961) and Paul Sacher (Basel, January 25, 1962, together with the Végh Quartet).

1965 - 67

Teaches as visiting professor at the Peabody Institute and the Goucher College, Baltimore (Maryland, USA). Writes the Musica concertante for the Camerata Bern (premiered in Berne, October 28, 1966) and the Cello Solo Sonata for Mihály Virizlay (premiered in Baltimore, April 18, 1967).

1967

Visiting professor at the University of Adelaide, Adelaide (Australia). Composition of the Songs of the Seasons, commissioned by the Australian Broadcasting Company, and of the Diptych, written for the University of Adelaide Wind Quintet.

1968

Becomes Professor for Ethno-Musicology and Music of the 20th Century at the University of Berne. Favourite lecture subjects: Debussy, Bartók, Stravinsky and the Second Viennese School.

1972

Visiting professor at the University of Portland, Portland (Oregon, USA).

1974

Member of the Swiss Musicians' Society.

1976

Music Award of the Canton of Berne.

1977

Retires

1977 - 91

After a creative pause, due to academic concentration, the late works come into being, showing a certain tendency to retrospection: Das Glasklängespiel (premiered on March 14, 1987, by Daniel Glaus and the Ensemble AD HOC); the Clarinet Concerto (premiered on May 11, 1982, by Thomas Friedli and the Bernese Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Jean-Pierre Moeckli); Orbis tonorum (premiered on November 9, 1986, by Heinz Holliger and the Ensemble Modern); the Tromboniade (premiered on March 14, 1991, by Branimir Slokar, Pia Bucher and the Bernese Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Zdenek Kosler).

1985

Bartók-Pásztory Award.

1986

Composer's Award of the Swiss Musicians' Society.

1987

Festivities to celebrate his 80th birthday. Performances of numerous works in Berne and Basel. Music Award of the City of Berne.

1990

Honorary Professor of the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music, Budapest.

1991

Banner Order of the Hungarian Republic. December: Swiss citizenship (the first attempt failed in 1977).

1992

March 4. Veress dies in Berne. His legacy is taken over by the Paul Sacher Foundation, Basel, and the Institute for Musicology of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest.

1992 ff.

Edizioni Suvini Zerboni publishes the first volumes of an Edizione critica, edited by Andreas Traub.

2007

Bernese institutions, such as the Academy of the Arts, the Institute for Musicology of the University, the Paul Klee Centre, the Bernese Music Society, the ISCM etc., celebrate the centenary of the composer, teacher and researcher Sándor Veress with numerous concerts and a symposium. BMC [Budapest Music Centre] and the Institute for Musicology of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences organize special concerts in honour of the composer.