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György Sebők (Piano)

Born: November 2, 1922 - Szeged, Hungary
Died: November 14, 1999 - Bloomington, Indiana, USA

The Hungarian-born American pianist and music pedagogue, György Nicholas Sebők, gave his first solo piano recital at age 11. At 14, he played L.v. Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 1 under conductor Ferenc Fricsay - a performance upon which he would reflect many years later. He enrolled in the Franz Liszt Academy at the age of 16, under the guidance of Zoltán Kodály and Leó Weiner.

After World War II, György Sebők made his concert career in Hungary, the Soviet Union, and other countries in Eastern Europe. While well known in these countries, the lack of communication between Soviet-dominated parts of Europe and the rest of the world hindered his recognition in Non-Communist nations.

In 1949, György Sebők was named professor of music at the Béla Bartók Conservatory in Budapest. After the Hungarian revolt of 1956, he settled in Paris. In 1962, he was invited by Dean Wilfred Bain to join the faculty of the Indiana University School of Music in Bloomington, Indiana, where his friend, cellist Janos Starker, was already teaching. This is considered to be the most productive phase of his career. Sebok often accompanied Starker in recitals. He was named a Distinguished Professor of Music at Indiana University.

György Sebők found himself inspired by teaching, and increased his activities in this sphere. He was a guest professor of the Berlin Hochschule der Kunste (HDK) in Germany, there teaching master-classes twice a year. He was also an honorary life member of Tokyo's Toho School of Music. In 1973 he began teaching master classes at the Banff Centre in Alberta, Canada, which he continued until 1996. He also served as a guest teacher at the Amsterdam Sweelinck Conservatorium, the Barcelona School of Music, and the Stuttgart Hochschule für Musik. Among his many pupils: Diana Baker, David Bismuth, Kori Bond, Jacques Després, Gabriela Imreh, Jane Solose, Klaus Sticken.

In 1974, György Sebők founded and organized annual summer master classes in Ernen, Switzerland for pianists and 'other instruments', and established the town as an international center for master-classes. This unique music festival, known as the Ernen Musikdorf (Ernen Music Village) is the annual occasion for the most promising young artists to meet each other and leading musicians in their fields while attending stimulating lessons on interpretation from master performers. He remained the artistic director of the Musikdorf through 1987, establishing it as a leading event on the yearly music calendar. He also founded and directed the "Festival der Zukunft" in Ernen in 1987, which is to this day carrying his legacy with growing numbers of concertgoers. The city's officials made him an honorary citizen - only their third in 800 years.

György Sebők won the Grand Prix du Disque in 1957. He was listed in Who's Who in America, Who's Who in Music, the National Register of Prominent Americans, and other biographical dictionaries. He received numerous honors, including the Cross of Merit of the Hungarian Government, La Medaille de la Ville de Paris, Echelon Vermeille, and, in 1996, Kulturpreis des Staates Wallis, (Prix de Consecration). Also in 1996, the French Government bestowed on him the decoration Chevalier de L'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

György Sebők recorded frequently as a chamber, solo, and concerto pianist. One of his last projects was participation in a two-disc set from the Budapest Music Center of the compositions of his own teacher Leó Weiner.


Source: Wikipedia Website (September 2016); All Music Guiide Website (Author: Joseph Stevenson)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (August 2017)

György Sebők: Short Biography | Recordings of Instrumental Works

Links to other Sites

György Sebők (Wikipedia)
Gyorgy Sebok - Biography (AMG)
Sebok: in memoriam (Indiana University)
Gyorgy Nicholas Sebok (Find A Grave Memorial)

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