Tibor Szemző

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Tibor Szemző (born 1955, Budapest, Hungary) is a Hungarian composer,[1] performer and media artist.


Szemző was born in Budapest in 1955. He began his musical studies at the Kodály method school at the age of six and graduated from the Hungarian Academy of Music. Szemzö formed his own trio (later a quartet), and in 1979 he founded the minimalist ensemble Group 180 (1978–1990). It was a profoundly influential ensemble, renowned for its performances of Hungarian minimalism; it also performed works by John Cage and Steve Reich. Embarking on a solo career in 1983, Szemzö began integrating spoken word and visual elements into projects and in 1987 he issued his first solo recording, Snapshot from the Island. The downfall of Hungary's communist rule allowed him to begin collaborating with various artists throughout Europe and beyond, and in 1998 Szemzö also formed a new chamber ensemble, the Gordian Knot. Other notable works include Ain't Nothing But a Little Bit of Music for Moving Pictures (the score to a collection of black-and-white home movies compiled by friend Péter Forgács), The Conscience and the musical piece, entitled Tractatus (a narrative-based chamber compositions) inspired by Ludwig Wittgenstein's Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. In recent years Szemzo's interest has increasingly turned to film as well. His award-winning feature A Guest of Life (intermixing documentary footage, animation, and Super 8mm film stock) was shot in Tibet.

Records & DVDs[edit]

  • Snapshot from the Island LP 1987, CD 1999 Leo Records, England, CD LR 151
  • Private Exits LP 1989 HPS Records, Hungary
  • Ain't Nothing but a Little Bit of Music for Moving Pictures CD 1992 TomK Records/BBS Foundation, Czechoslovakia/Hungary
  • The Conscience/Narrative Champer Pieces CD 1993 Leo Records CD LR 185,
  • The Last Hungarian PVC SP 1994 Futterbasis, Hungary
  • Tractatus CD 1995 Leo Records, England CD LR 227
  • Relative Things CD 1998 Leo Records CD LR 250
  • The Other Shore CD 1999 Leo Records CD LR 281
  • Free Fall Oratorio CD 2000 Author's publication FOB 021
  • Sunset on Left CD 2000 Bahia Music CDB 071
  • Invisible Story CD 2001 Leo Records CD LR 311
  • Danube Exodus CD 2002 Leo Records CD LR 352
  • South of No North CD 2003 Leo Records CD LR 361
  • A Guest of Life DVD 2007 Fantasy Film Hungary


  • Skullbase Fracture 1984–87 Balázs Béla Studio (BBS), Hungary, video-anticlip
  • Cuba 1993 BBS, Hungary, b&w 16mm
  • Urán 1996 b&w experimental, r. László Lugossy
  • The Other Shore 1998 Szemzo/BBS/DunaTV, color 35mm
  • What There Is 2005 Kép-Árnyék Bt, b&w 8mm/video
  • A Guest of Life - Alexander Csoma de Körös 2006 Mediawave/A38/Gordioso Film, color 35mm
  • Invisible Story 2009 Gordioso Film / Kép-Árnyék Bt, color 8mm/video
  • The Sex Appeal of Death 1990/2010 Gordioso Film / Duna Workshop, color/video
  • The Tip of the Iceberg 2011 Gordioso Film / Duna Workshop, color 8mm/video
  • Wish to be a Red Indian 2014 Budapest Film Production Co., color 8mm/video

Selected events[edit]

  • Festival d'automne à Paris 1981
  • New Music America '86, Houston
  • Wiener Festwochen '88
  • Ars Electronica '88 and '89, Linz, Austria
  • Music Now from Hungary '94, Yokohama, Japan
  • Warsaw Autumn Festival '95, Poland
  • Unsung Music '96 and 2000, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London
  • Prague New Music Marathon ’96,’98, 2000
  • Angelica 2000, Bologna, Italia
  • San Francisco Jewish Film Festival
  • Alternativa 2001, Moscow
  • Getty Museum, LA, 2002
  • Tribeca Film Festival, NYC 2007
  • Kolkata Int. Film Festival 2007, India
  • Buddhist Int. Film Festival 2009, Barbican Center, London
  • Budapest Arts Palace 2009, 2013


  1. ^ Nichols, Bill; Renov, Michael (2011-12-02). Cinema's Alchemist: The Films of Péter Forgács. U of Minnesota Press. pp. 222–. ISBN 9780816648740. Retrieved 25 June 2012. 

External links[edit]