Hungarian composer Ferenc Farkas was born at Nagykanizsa in Zala megye on 15 December 1905. His father played the cimbalom and his mother was a pianist. He studied with Albert Siklós and Leó Weiner at the Budapest Music Academy, then worked as a repetiteur and conductor at the Municipal Theatre.
In Rome from 1929 until 1931, he took Respighi's masterclass at the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, and became attracted to Italian and Mediterranean culture. Italian neoclassicism became one of the three main parts of his musical language, the others being Hungarian folk music and dodecaphony.
Back in Budapest, he played piano in theatre orchestras and began writing film scores for director Paul Fejos. He also began researching traditional Hungarlan music, collecting folk songs in Somogy megye.
Later in his career he taught composition, at Budapest City Music School, at Kolozsvàr Conservatory (now in Cluj, Romania), at Székesfehérvár and finally at the Franz Liszt Music Academy in Budapest, where he remained until retiring in 1975. His students included György Kurtág, György Ligeti, and Emil Petrovics.
Ferenc Farkas died in Budapest on 10 October 2000.
CD Spotlight. Inner Solace - Choral music by Ferenc Farkas, heard by Gerald Fenech. '... performances have a solemn dignity ...'
CD Spotlight. Sympathetic and Inventive - Music by Ferenc Farkas for oboe and strings, heard by Paul Sarcich. 'The Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra performs with obvious care and commitment ...'
CD Spotlight. Great Panache - The complete wind quintets of Ferenc Farkas, appreciated by Paul Sarcich. '... the whole set simply reeks charm.'
Ensemble. Chamber orchestra charms - Rare Hungarian music, reviewed by Lawrence Budmen