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Zoltán Kodály (December 16, 1882 – March 6, 1967) was a Hungarian composer, ethnomusicologist, music pedagogue, linguist, and philosopher. He is well known internationally as the creator of the Kodály method of music education.
Kodály was born in Kecskemét, Hungary, on December 16, 1882. He showed an early aptitude for music and began composing at the age of 10. In 1900, he entered the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest, where he studied composition with Béla Bartók and conducting with Hans von Koessler.
After graduating from the Liszt Academy, Kodály began to focus on Hungarian folk music. He traveled throughout Hungary, collecting and studying folk songs. In 1906, he published his doctoral dissertation, The Strophic Structure of Hungarian Folk Songs.
In 1907, Kodály was appointed a professor at the Liszt Academy. He taught there for the rest of his life, and his students included many of the leading Hungarian composers of the 20th century.
Kodály was also a prolific composer. His works include operas, ballets, orchestral pieces, chamber music, choral music, and songs. His music is characterized by its use of Hungarian folk music, its melodic beauty, and its rhythmic vitality.
In addition to his work as a composer and educator, Kodály was also a leading figure in the Hungarian nationalist movement. He believed that music was essential to the development of a strong national identity, and he worked tirelessly to promote the study and performance of Hungarian music.
Kodály died in Budapest on March 6, 1967. He was 84 years old. His legacy continues to live on through his music, his teaching methods, and his work to promote Hungarian culture.