Frederic Balazs

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Biography: 

In the words of the great pianist, Claudio Arrau, Frederic Balazs is "a brilliant conductor of rare gifts with musicianship, intelligence, and inspirational capacity of great depth." Born in 1919, in Budapest, he became concert violinist and concertmaster of the Budapest Symphony at the age of 17. He acquired his intense affinity with the technique and spirit of the orchestra by working under such greats as Bruno Walter, Toscanini, Ormandy, and Furtwängler.

Balazs came to  the United States and joined the Army, after Pearl Harbor, serving with several adventuresome "distinctions". As a result of his service, Balazs was awarded a lifetime honorary membership to the American Composers Alliance upon returning home.

At the age of 23, his Divertimento was performed in California, at a meeting of the International Society for Contemporary Music. His music was compared to that of Bartok, and his string quartets have received unusually high praise, and comparison with the great quartets of Shostakovich, Ives, and Piston. His music has been characterized as plaintive, lyrical, and also romantic, or vigorous and high-spirited.

Balazs is known for his work in building and establishing young ensembles, such as the Wichita Falls Symphony and the Tucson Symphony, both of which blossomed into major ensembles under his direction. He was often sought out as a director of training orchestra programs in seminars and festivals. Composer Miklos Rozsa comments that Balazs in "an excellent conductor who works with and engenders reciprocal warmth and enthusiasm." Conductor Antal Dorati singled him out as "a splendid violinist and a conductor of rare gifts."

Through his long life and wide experiences, Frederic Balazs possesses an unlimited repertoire of symphonic, concerto, operatic, and pops literature. As a champion of contemporary music, he recorded many premiere works for CRI, a label that was originally founded by the American Composers Alliance. He received the Alice M. Ditson Award for outstanding contributions to American music, honorary membership in the International Mark Twain Literary Society, and many other awards and honors.

He lived for many years in San Luis Obispo, California, where he founded Music and the Arts for Youth (MAY), to assist and award young talent. His work with, and on behalf of children and youth in music was recently on NBC Evening News as the "Musical Genius and the Pied Piper of California."

Dec. 2012Maestro Balazs is currently living in Arizona, where he composes full-time. He was celebrated in 2003, during the 75th anniversary celebration of the Tucson Symphony, and his "Song--after Walt Whitman" for orchestra performed by the TSO with the Arizona Boys' Chorus, and "Prayers from the Ark" for children's voices and piano, both major works, were performed in celebration of the Boys Chorus's 70th anniversary in November, 2009.

His piano was a gift from his friend and colleague, ACA composer Walter Mourant.

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ACA List for Frederic Balazs

1 AIR (Transcribed from Bach), for orch (1955)
pic-2, eh-2-2-bcl-2, 4-2-3-1,timp,hp,str,2-1-1-1

2 AN AMERICAN SYMPHONY (1946)
PIC,2-2, eh-2,BCL-2,4-3-3-1,TIMP,PERC,STR

3 ANGELS (1987)
fl, ob, cl, bsn, hn, tpt, tbn, hp, pf, boy soprano, bass guit, 2 vn, vla, vcl

4 ANGELS (for boy chor,spkr,cham orch) (1989)
1-1-1-1,1-1-1-0,HP,PF,B GTR SOLO STR, 2-1-1-1

5 BACHIANA CALIFORNIANA (2001)
pf

6 BENEDICTUS (2010)
a cappella treble chorus and soloists

7 BIRTHDAYSONG
4 vcl

8 BIRTHDAYSONG
vc pf

9 CADENZAS (1991)
pf

10 CAPRICCIO (1976)
pf

11 CAPRICCIO (Dies Irae) (1963)
vln,pf

12 CAPRICCIO UMORISTICO (1996)
pf

15 CONCERTO FOR ORCHESTRA (1977)
SATB,4 solo voice,2-2-2-2,4-2-3-1,timp,perc(5), hp,2-1-1-1

16 CONCERTO FOR STRING QUARTE & ORCHESTRA (1986)
Str qtt,sop,orch: 2

17 CONCERTO FOR VIOLONCELLO & ORCH (In Memoriam) (1962)
2-2-2-2,4-3-3-1,TIMP,PERC,hp,str(2-1-1-1)

18 A DEDICATION OVERTURE (1956)
2-2-2-2,4-2-2-1, TIMP,PERC,XYL,2-1-1-1

19 DIVERTIMENTO (SERENADE) for Str Quart (1941)
string quartet

20 DIVERTIMENTO(SERENADE) f Str Orch (1941)
string orchestra

21 DULCIMER, THE (A Song) (1976)
PF

22 DUO (1993)
vln, tbn

23 EVENING SONG, AN
mix chor,hp,strs

24 FIVE SONGS
voice & pf

25 FOUR PIECES FOR PIANO (1989)
pf

27 IN DIR IST FREUDE (Bach),for Orch (1954)
pic-2-2-2, 4-2-3-1,timp,perc,2-1-1-1

29 KENTUCKIA (for Vln or VLC & Orch) (1956)
3-2-2-2, 4-2-3-1,TIMP-CYM,HP, STR (2-1-1-1)

30 KENTUCKIA (Vln or Vc with string orch) (1956)
str orch (2-1-1-1)

31 KENTUCKIA,Vln or Vcl & Pf
vln or vcl, pf

32 MASS (2010)
a cappella treble chorus and soloists

35 Moon (1939)
orch

38 NIGHT MUSIC (1983)
PF

39 NIGHTSONG (1990)
pf

40 NINE SONGS
high voice, pf

43 PARTITA FOR SOLO VIOLIN (2000)
solo violin

44 PARTITA FOR VIOLA ALONE (1985)
vla

45 PASSACAGLIA (Var on a Th of Greeting) (1968)
3-2-2-2-CBSN,4-3-3-1,TIMP,PERC(6),HP/CEL, str, + 'BACK-STAGE MUSIC'

48 POEMS FOR CHORUS (1958)
SATB, brass:4-2-3-1, 4 timp,perc

49 PRAYERS FROM THE ARK (2007)
Chorus of Treble Voices, Piano

51 PUEBLO BONITO(ballet in 5 scenes) (1956)
Chorus, Narr, orch: 1-1-1-1, 1-1-0-0,PERC,HP,2-1-1-1

52 QUINTET (for ww) (1985)
1-1-1-1-HN

53 RONDO FANTASTICO (1989)
PF

54 SAETA (1987)
voice,pf

55 SANCTUS & AGNUS DEI for piano solo (2011)
pf

balazs_sanctusmp3_composerplayingdec2012.mp3

"Sanctus" performed by the composer at his home 2012

56 SCHERZO (1977)
pf

59 SICILIANO (Bach BWV 1031) (1990)
2 PF

60 SOLILOQUI (1976)
pf

61 SOLILOQUI (1993)
str quar

62 SOLILOQUI (1989)
str orch

63 SONATA FOR PIANO (2004)
pf

balazspfsonata3excerptthird.mp3

Excerpt III mvmt - Torsten Juul-Borre, piano

64 SONATA FOR VIOLIN & PIANO (1981)
vln,pf

balazssonata_for_violinpianoexcerpt.mp3

Excerpt - Sonata for violin and piano

65 SONG (1992)
pf

66 SONG (1990)

67 SONG - AFTER WALT WHITMAN (2008)
Boy's chorus, soloists, 2-2-2-2 (oboe d'amore or tárogató optional), 2-2-3-1, timp, perc (2), hp, piano, celeste (opt), strings

68 SONG FOR JENNIFER (2009)
fl

69 SONG FOR PABLITO (Orch) (1960)
2-2-2-2,4-2-3-1, PERC,HP, str

70 SONNETS AFTER ELIZ. BARRETT BROWNING (1961)
voice & cham orch: ww=1-1-1-1, hp, str

71 SONNETS AFTER ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING (1962)
high voice, string quartet

72 A STATEMENT OF FAITH (1961)
3-2-2-2, 4-2-3-1,TMP-PRC,HP, STR

73 STRING QUARTET 3 (1959)
2 vln, vla, vc

74 STRING QUARTET 4 (1966)
string quartet

75 STRING QUARTET 5 (1982)
string quartet

76 SUITE FOR PIANO (1977)
PF

77 SUNSET ON RED MOUNTAIN, MONTANA (1994)
str quar/ str orch

78 SYMPHONIC METAMORPHOSIS ON B-G (1964)
solo cl & orch:2-2-2-2, 4-2-3-1,timp,perc,str

79 SYMPHONY ON A PLAINCHANT FRAGMENT (1954)
3-2-2-bscl-2-cbsn-EH,4-3-3-1,timp,perc(3), hp, str

80 Thankyousong For Kristian (1998)
vln and pf

81 Thankyousong For Kristian (1998)
vln and pf

83 TRAIL, THE (A Ballad) (for Orch) (1957)
2-2-eh-2-t sax-2,4-2-3-1,hp,str

84 TWO DANCES (After the Songs of David) for Fl&Orch (1957)
2-2-2-2,4-2-3-1,timp,perc,hp-cel, 2-1-1-1

85 VARIATIONS AND PARAPHRASE ON PAGANINI'S CAPRICE XXIV (2003)
solo vln, orch: 2/pic-2-eh-2-bcl-2-cbsn; 4-3-3-1; timp; perc; hp; str

86 VARIATIONS ON FIVE NOTES
2222 424 hp, cel, pf strings perc.

88 VIGNETTES (1988)
pf

89 VIGNETTES
str quar

90 WASPISH

91 WEDDING SONG
(1) vln, hp or pn, (2)ob or fl or cl, hp or pno

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