Somfai Laszlo

Department: Bartók Archives
Degree, position: member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, editor of „Béla Bartók Thematic Catalogue", founding editor of „Béla Bartók Complete Critical Edition”
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Room: 204 
Phone: +36 1 214 6770, Ext. 290



László Somfai (b. 1934, Jászladány, Hungary), retired Head of the Bartók Archives of the Institute for Musicology of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (1972–2004); parallel to the research job since 1969 professor of musicology at the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music (State University) in Budapest, director of the Ph.D. Program (1997–2007), currently professor emeritus.

He studied musicology in Budapest in the F. Liszt Academy of Music, graduated in 1959; received the Doctor in Musicology degree from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in 1982. Somfai is member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (1995 corr., 2004 ord. member), corresponding member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1997), corresponding member of the British Academy (1998); corresponding member of the American Musicological Society (1988); founder-president of the Magyar Zenetudományi és Zenekritikai Társaság [Hungarian Musicological Society] (1994–1998), president of the International Musicological Society between 1997–2002, member of the Zentralinstitut der Mozartforschung Salzburg, the Joseph Haydn-Institut Köln, etc.

Somfai’s researches focus on Haydn and Bartók and their time, with special stress on the complex investigation of primary sources in relation to the compositional process, the genre stratification, and the historically oriented performance. He published over 140 studies and ten books; assisted facsimile editions, critical editions, and complete recordings. Recently Somfai works on the thematic catalogue of Bartók’s compositions and on the preparation of the Béla Bartók Complete Critical Edition.

From the late 1960s he lectured extensively in the USA, was visiting professor at the Graduate Center of the City University New York in 1984, “Ernest Bloch Professor” at the University of California at Berkeley in 1989. In addition, he lectured in England, Germany, Austria, Canada, Finland, Italy, Spain, etc.