Violinist and composer Zoltan Szekely, a frequent recital partner of composer Bela Bartok, died Oct. 5 in Banff, Canada, where he was longtime artist-in-residence at the Banff Center. He was 97.
Hungarian native studied composition with Zoltan Kodaly at the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest. and began appearing in recitals with Bartok, who wrote his Violin Concerto for Szekely, who performed its premiere in 1939 in Amsterdam.
Szekely was first violinist of the Hungarian String Quartet, which he led from 1937 until 1972. During World War II, the quartet were trapped in the Netherlands, where they spent their time perfecting the Beethoven Quartet cycle. In the 1950s, they moved to Los Angeles and had a two-year residency at USC. After that, they returned to Europe for recitals.
After the group disbanded in 1972, Szekely was named artist-in-residence at Banff and Alberta’s violinist-in-residence.
His compositions included a string quartet, duo for violin and cello, and a sonata for unaccompanied violin. His arrangement of Bartok’s Romanian Dances for violin and piano is popular.
He is survived by a son and two grandsons.