Born in Nagykanizsa (Hungary) on December 15th 1905, died in Budapest on October 10th 2000.
Ferenc Farkas studied composition with Leò Weiner and Albert Siklòs at the Budapest Academy of Music (1922-1927), then with Ottorino Respighi at the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome (1929-1931). Between 1932 and 1936, he lived in Vienna and in Copenhagen where he composed music for the films of the director Paul Fejös. After his return to Hungary he started teaching and directing in Budapest, Kolozsvàr (Cluj) and Székesfehérvar. In 1949 he was appointed professor of composition at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest and held this post until his retirement in 1975. Many of his pupils, who have attained international status in their own right have paid tribute to his great skill as teacher, i.e. composers such as György Ligeti, György Kurtag, Emil Petrovics, Zsolt Durkò, Sàndor Szokolay, Miklòs Kocsàr, Attila Bozay, Zoltàn Jeney.
The work of Ferenc Farkas (more than 700 titles) has its origin in the Hungarian and Italian musical tradition as well as in the dodecaphony and includes a wide variety of different genres : operas, musicals, ballets, incidental and film music, orchestral works, concerti, chamber music, masses, oratorios, cantatas, choruses and Lieder.
A gift for melodic invention, a sense of rhythm, lively and spontaneous, a total command at writing in all styles and for all instruments, a cosmopolitan culture and a constant desire to reconcile tradition and modernity are the components of the original, uniform, individual, national and international idiom of Ferenc Farkas. His work bestowed on Hungarian music a whole new dimension.
The stature of Ferenc Farkas was recognized by more than one country where he was the beneficiary of some of the greatest cultural awards including the Kossuth Prize (1950 and 1991), the Gottfried von Herder Prize (1979), the Cavaliere dell’Ordine della Repubblica Italiana (1984)