25 March 1881 - 26 September 1945

Béla Bartok, Hungarian composer, virtuoso pianist, teacher and collector of folk music.
Bartok became one of the most influential  musicians of the 20th century.

- Family

- Bio/Timeline

- Quotes

- Works

- Links

Portrait of Bela Bartok


Born: Béla Viktor János Bartók 25 March 1881, Nagyszentmikls, Hungary now Sinnicolau Mare, Romania
Father: Béla Sr. (director of an agricultural school)
Mother: Paula Voit
Siblings: sister, Erzsébet
First wife: Márta Ziegler (1893-1967)
Second wife: Ditta Pásztory (1903-1982)
Children: son Béla III with Marta
              son Péter with Ditta
Died: 26 Sept.1945, New York, N.Y., U.S.
Cause of death: Leukemia
Buried: Ferncliff Cemetery and Mausoleum 
Hartsdale, Westchester County, New York, USA
In 1988 he was reinterred at Budapest's Farkasréti Cemetery.
see findagrave

Timeline / biography

Age 5: His mother gives him piano lessons
Age 7: His father died. They then moved to Nagyszollow, now Vinogradov, Ukraine, where his mother got a teaching job.
Age 9: Wrote his first compositions.
Age 11: First public recital.
Age 13: Move to Pozsony, now Bratislava, Slovakia.
Age 18: Move to Budapest and studies piano and composition at the Academy of Music.
Age 22: Writes the Kossuth Symphony and graduates from the Academy.
Age 23: He begins collaborating with Zoltán Koldáy on folk music research. Begins annual trips with an Edison phonograph to record folk music.
Age 26: Takes a piano teaching post at the Academy of Music.
Age 28: Marries 16 year old Márta Ziegler. 
Age 29: First son  Béla born.
Age 30: Writes Bluebeard's Castle.
Age 40: Finishes his book  The Hungarian Folksong.
Age 42: Divorces Márta, marries 19 year old Ditta Pásztory. Second son, Peter, born.
Age 46-47: First American tour.
Age 53: Leaves Academy of Music to take appointment at the Academy of Sciences to work on Hungarian folk music.
Age 58: Death of his mother.
Age 59: (1940) Second American  tour and emigration to USA.
Age 60: Appointed research fellow at Columbia University to work on Serbo-Croation folk music.
Age: 61: Writes Concerto for Orchestra.
Age: 64: Writes Piano Concerto No 3, starts his Viola Concerto. Dies of Leukemia.

Bartok's Works

 - Bluebeard's Castle
 - The Wooden Prince
 - The Miraculous Mandarin
- Kossuth - Symphonic Poem
- 2 Violin Concertos
- 3 Piano Concertos
- Concerto for 2 pianos
- Concerto for Orchestra
- Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta
and other works
Chamber Music:
- 6 string quartets
- 2 violin sonatas
- 44 duos
- sonata for 2 pianos and percussion
and other works
- Allegro Barbaro
- For Children (2 books)
- Mikrokosmos (6 books)
and many other pieces
Choral music, Songs
various pieces including many arrangements of folk music

Bartok signature


- Competitions are for horses, not artists.

In art there are only fast or slow developments. Essentially it is a matter of evolution, not revolution.

I cannot conceive of music that expresses absolutely nothing.

Images of Bartok - an interesting selection of images from art, caricatures, cartoons, album covers, postage stamps etc

Bartók Interview from the Ask the Composer series
(listen to his voice)

Bartok himself plays Mikrokosmos Volume V -Excerpts

Romanian Folk Dance
played by the Danubia Orchestra.

The Cricket on the Roof
'Standing Still' from Romanian Folk Dances No3, Sz. 56

Bluebeard's Castle
Conducted by: Sir George Solti, London Philharmonic Orchestra


Answers.com various reference sites inluding Wikipedia

The Bartok Museum

The Bartok Archives

- The Piano Society a brief bio plus free recordings of his piano music

ClassicCat.net a list of links

- ClassicalArchives MP3s with previews

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