Sándor Erkel

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Sándor Erkel

Sándor Erkel (2 January 1846 – 14 October 1900) was a Hungarian composer, conductor and director of the Hungarian State Opera.


Born in Buda, Erkel was the youngest son of the famous Hungarian composer, Ferenc Erkel. He first studied music with his father; later his teacher was another Hungarian composer, Mihály Mosonyi.

He started his career just as an orchestra musician of the National Theatre in Pest playing tympani; besides he was the dulcimer soloist at the premiere of his father's famous opera, the Bánk bán. Later he became the conductor of the theater's orchestra, and at the age of thirty in 1876, he was appointed the music director of the ensemble.[1] In 1884, Erkel became the music director of the newly established Hungarian State Opera (1884–1886), – its founding director was his father, Ferenc Erkel – premiering Hungarian and foreign operas.

As one of the most acknowledged Hungarian conductors of his age, he accepted the chairman-conductor position of the Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra in 1875, a post he held until 1900.[2] Johannes Brahms premiered his Piano concerto no. 2. with the Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra on 9 November 1881 in Budapest; the soloist of the concert was the composer, the conductor Sándor Erkel.[3]

He died unexpectedly in Békéscsaba on 14 October 1900. As a composer his oeuvre is relatively small, including orchestral and choral works. His only opera, the Csobánc, was premiered on 13 December 1865.


  1. ^ Szabolcsi Bence - Tóth Aladár: Zenei lexikon, Zeneműkiadó Vállalat, 1965. I. p. 576.
  2. ^ Magyar életrajzi lexikon – Erkel Sándor
  3. ^ GOING OUT GUIDE by Richard F. Shepard, November 11, 1981, The New York Times