György Sebok


Born: 1922 Died: November 14, 1999
György Sebok was an internationally known pianist, particularly for his accompanying and chamber music, and a highly respected pedagogue.

His parents were Vilmos and Klara (Krausz) Sebok. He gave his first piano recital at the age of 11 and at 16 was admitted to the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest. Among his teachers there were Zoltán Kodály and Leo Weiner.

After World War II, he made his concert career in Hungary, the Soviet Union, and other countries in Eastern Europe. While well known in these countries, the lack of communication between Soviet-dominated parts of Europe and the rest of the world hindered his recognition in Non-Communist nations.

In 1949, he became a professor of music at the Béla Bartók Conservatory in Budapest. During the brief period during the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 when escape was possible, he traveled to Austria, then settled in Paris. One of his initial recordings in Western Europe won the Grand Prix du Disc of 1957.

In 1962, he was invited by Dean Wilfred Bain to join the faculty of the Indiana University School of Music in Bloomington, Indiana, where his friend, cellist Janos Starker, was already teaching. Thereafter, Sebok often accompanied Starker in recitals. Sebok was named a Distinguished Professor of Music at Indiana University.

Sebok found himself inspired by teaching, and increased his activities in this sphere. He was a guest professor at the Hochschule der Kunste in Berlin and the Toho School of Music in Tokyo, which made him a life member of its faculty. In 1973 he began teaching master classes at the Banff Centre in Alberta, Canada, which he continued until 1996.

In 1974, he taught master classes in Ernen, Switzerland, and established the town as an international center for master classes. This unique music festival, known as the Ernen Musikdorf (Ernen Music Village) is the annual occasion for the most promising young artists to meet each other and leading musicians in their fields while attending stimulating lessons on interpretation from master performers. He remained the artistic director of the Musikdorf through 1987, establishing it as a leading event on the yearly music calendar.

He also served as a guest teacher at the Amsterdam Conservatorium, the Barcelona School of Music, and the Stuttgart Hochschule für Musik. He received the Cross of Merit of the Hungarian Government, the Medal of the City of Paris (Echelon Vermeille),and the Cultural Prize of the Wallonian States. In 1996 the French Government declared him a Chevalier of L'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

He recorded frequently as a chamber, solo, and concerto pianist. One of his last projects was participation in a two-disc set from the Budapest Music Center of the compositions of his own teacher Leo Weiner.

There are 9 György Sebok recordings available.

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