Zsolt Gárdonyi

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Zsolt Gárdonyi
Born(1946-03-21)21 March 1946
EducationFranz Liszt Academy of Music
  • Composer
  • Organist
  • Music theorist
  • Academic teacher
OrganizationHochschule für Musik Würzburg

Zsolt Gárdonyi (21 March 1946) is a German-Hungarian composer, organist and music theorist. He is the son of Zoltán Gárdonyi.


Gárdonyi was born in Budapest, Hungary. He studied composition, organ, sacred music and theory. At the age of 19 he received an award of the Budapest university competition in organ as well as composition. Aged 24 he became cantor of the Alexanderkirche in Wildeshausen, Germany. Ten years later he was appointed professor for theory of music at the Hochschule für Musik Würzburg in Würzburg.[1] His students include Claus Kühnl.

In international organ concerts he presents especially works of his father and his own, in addition to the standard organ repertoire.[2] In a program at the Marktkirche he combined works of his father, the two organ preludes on Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott and Ich weiß, woran ich glaube, and the Partita "Veni Creator Spiritus", with works of his own, the two organ preludes on "Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort" and "In dir ist Freude", three compositions paying homage to composers (Hommage à J. S. Bach, Hommage à F. Liszt, Hommage à M. Dupré), his jazzy Mozart Changes and EGATOP, an homage to Erroll Garner, Art Tatum and Oscar Peterson.[3] Several of his works were recorded. The composer comments on Grand Choeur for organ, recorded by Roland Maria Stangier in the Philharmonie Duisburg:

Organ compositions entitled Grand Choeur such as those by César Franck, Jacques-Nicolas Lemmens, Théodore Dubois, Alexandre Guilmant und Eugène Gigout are often conceived as preludes and postludes for worship services and traditionally contain registration directions at the start. In France, Grand Choeur indicates a composition whose sound is characterized by its high proportion of reed stops. My Grand Choeur is tied to this French organ tradition and was written in 1979 based on one of my worship service improvisations during 1971-75 at the organ of the Alexanderkirche Wildeshausen.[4]

Gárdonyi's short organ piece Mozart Changes, composed for the 1995 "OK MOZART" International Festival in Bartlesville, departs from the theme of the finale of Mozart's last piano sonata in D major, K. 576, and treats it to changes using elements of jazz.[5][6]


In 1979 Gárdonyi received the prize for composition of Bavaria. In June 2000 he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Debrecen university in Hungary and its theological faculty Debreceni Református Teológiai Akadémia for Protestant sacred music.[1] In 2011 he was awarded a medal of honor by the president of Hungary.


One major area of Gárdonyi's research is the harmony of the 19th and 20th century (Liszt, Debussy, Skriabin and Messiaen), resulting in a book he published together with Hubert Nordhoff, "Harmonik" (harmony). He also researched the relation between composition, interpretation, analysis and improvisation. He published a book on counterpoint, taking Bach's fugal structures as examples. The book was translated to Italian.

  • Zsolt Gárdonyi and Hubert Nordhoff: Harmonik, Wolfenbüttel 1990, ² 2002, ISBN 978-3-7877-3035-3
  • Zsolt Gárdonyi: Kontrapunkt - dargestellt an Fugenstrukturen bei J. S. Bach, Wolfenbüttel 1980, ² 1991, ISBN 978-3-7877-3027-8
  • Zsolt Gárdonyi: La struttura della fuga, Milano 1996, (Traduzione di A. Giacometti)
  • Zsolt Gárdonyi and Siegfried Mauser: Virtuosität und Avantgarde. Untersuchungen zum Klavierwerk Franz Liszts (Virtuosity and Avantgarde. Research on the piano works of Franz Liszt), Schott Musikwissenschaft, vol. 2 of "Schriften der Hochschule für Musik Würzburg", ISBN 978-3-7957-1797-1

Music and books were published by Möseler and Schott.[7][8]


Gárdonyi edited various organ works by César Franck and his father Zoltan Gárdonyi, such as the three motets.[9]


  1. ^ a b "Gárdonyi, Prof. Dr. h.c. Zsolt" (in German). Komponistenlexikon. Retrieved 31 August 2011.
  2. ^ "Konzert mit besonderem Charakter" (in German). Augsburger Allgemeine. 2 October 2008. Retrieved 30 August 2011.
  3. ^ "Június 18, Orgonakoncert a Marktkirche-ben" (in German). ungvh.de. 18 June 2011. Retrieved 30 August 2011.
  4. ^ "Zsolt Gárdonyi "Grand Choeur"". linnrecords.com. 2 October 2008. Retrieved 1 September 2011.
  5. ^ "Swinging Pipes / Der Orgel-Literaturkanon (29): »Mozart Changes« von Zsolt Gárdonyi" (in German). Sonntagsblatt Bayern. 28 August 2011. Retrieved 1 September 2011.
  6. ^ Dan Zerfaß (2006). "Zsolt Gárdonyi: Mozart Changes" (in German). Musica sacra. Retrieved 1 September 2011.
  7. ^ "Zsolt Gárdonyi Sheet music". Schott. 2011. Retrieved 1 September 2011.
  8. ^ "Zsolt Gárdonyi Books". Schott. 2011. Retrieved 1 September 2011.
  9. ^ "Zoltán Gárdonyi Three motets". Schott. 2011. Retrieved 31 August 2011.

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