Zsigmond Szathmáry

(b. 1939, Hódmezővásárhely).

Hungarian composer, now resident in both Germany and Hungary, of mostly chamber and organ works that have been performed in Asia, Europe and North America; he is also active as an organist and pianist.

Mr. Szathmáry studied composition with Ferenc Szabó and organ with Ferenc Gergely at the Ferenc List Academy of Music in Budapest from 1958–63. He then studied organ with Alois Forer in Vienna and with Helmut Walcha in Frankfurt am Main from 1963–66 and attended the Kölner Kurse für Neue Musik, where he studied with Christoph Caskel, Henri Pousseur and Karlheinz Stockhausen, and the Ferienkurse in Darmstadt, where he studied with György Ligeti, from 1964–67.

Among his honours are First Prize in the competition for organists Budapest (1960), the Bach-Preis-Stipendium from the city of Hamburg (1972) and the Franz Liszt Badge from the National Franz Liszt Memorial Committee in Budapest (1987). He has been a member of the Freie Akademie der Künste in Hamburg since 1973.

As an organist, he has worked primarily in Hamburg, but also at the cathedral in Bremen. He has given tours throughout the world and has given more than 120 world premières, including music by Péter Eötvös, Vinko Globokar, Heinz Holliger, Hans Ulrich Lehmann, and other composers.

As a pianist, he has played music by Helmut Lachenmann and other composers.

He taught at the Musikhochschule Lübeck from 1972–76 and the Hochschule für Musik, Theater und Medien Hannover from 1976–78. He then taught as a professor at the Hochschule für Musik Freiburg in Freiburg im Breisgau from 1978–2004. In addition, he has given lectures throughout Europe and in Japan, South Korea and the USA and is a regular lecturer at both the Ferienkurse in Darmstadt and the summer academy for organists in Haarlem.

His primary publishers are the Bärenreiter-Verlag and Moeck Musikinstrumente + Verlag.


E-mail address:

Website: (German only)

SELECT LIST OF WORKS (dates unavailable for most works)


Drei Orchesterstücke, 2001–02

Cadenza con ostinati, violin, small orchestra (version of chamber work)

Drei Aphorismen

Fünf Sätze, organ, small orchestra


Discourse, trombone, violin, 2002, revised 2005

Alpha, flute, clarinet, trumpet, violin, viola, cello, piano

Cadenza con ostinati, violin, organ (also version for violin, small orchestra)

Con-tact-versation, violin, fixed media

Et Angustia, 7 players

Evokation, flute, viola, double bass, piano, 2 percussion

Katharsis, clarinet, organ, percussion

Monolog, flute, live electronics

Movimenti, flute, piano

Orgel-Sho, shō (mouth organ from Japan), organ, barrel organ

Solosonate, violin


Halotti beszédGrabrede (cantata, text from an anonymous 12th-century text from Hungary), alto, baritone, mixed chorus, orchestra, 2003–04

Missa da PacemKyrie, Gloria, mixed chorus


Disperatione (texts by Anne Frank, the Bible), soprano, baritone, flute, oboe, French horn, trombone, piano, harpsichord, 3 percussion

Drei Lieder auf Gedichte von Endre Ady (text by Endre Ady), voice, piano

Ein Psalm, alto, violin, organ


Drei Klavierstücke


Feuertaufe, 2004

Air, organ, fixed media

Dialogue I

Dialogue II, organ, fixed media

Gloria; Hommage à...B-A-C-H


Strophen, organ, fixed media

Stück, organ 4 hands, fixed media