Ferenc Farkas was born in Nagykanizsa, Hungary, in December 1905. He studied composition with Albert Sikós and Leó Weiner at the Budapest Academy of Music and continued his studies with Ottorino Respighi at the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome. Ferenc Farkas was Professor of Composition at the Conservatory of Kolozsvár from 1941 to 1944 and also served as its director during his last year there. In 1949 Farkas was appointed Professor of Composition at the Budapest Academy of Music, a post which he held until his retirement in 1975. His pupils included Attila Bozay, Axolt Durkó, György Kurtág, György Ligeti, Emil Petrovics, Sándor Szokolay and many other prominent Hungarian composers. In 1950, Ferenc Farkas was awarded the highest Hungarian government decoration for artistic merit, the Kossuth Prize. In 1979, he was given the Herder Prize by the F.V.Stiftung in Hamburg. (Ersébet Gaál)
Ferenc Farkas was one of Hungary’s greatest 20th-century composers. Despite this, his large opus for solo guitar and all possible combinations of chamber music instruments is not being played today as much as it deserves. In an open letter on the internet Angelo Gilardino describes how Farkas’ 24 guitar preludes were composed in 1982: "We were at a restaurant eating dinner together. I had just asked him to write a collection of 24 preludes to match Ponce’s preludes. He showed no sign that he had heard my request. I thought I was being a little presumptuous towards a great musician and I kept quiet. I watched him suddenly begin writing frantically in his big notation book. After about ten minutes Farkas abruptly stopped writing and handed me a sheet from his big notebook where he had written down the first page of the C-major prelude, perfectly executed and exactly as it appears in the published sheet music! Two days later I received the entire first prelude, and soon after, the whole set: Exercitium Tonale, (24 preludes)."
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