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Kafka and Other Things

A Conversation with Tibor Szemzö

WGNA Space at Dobbin Mews, 50-52 Dobbin St. Brooklyn, NY

October 29, 2010


Tibor Szemzö discusses his current work,"Kafka," and presents excerpts of his past film and musical works. The “Kafka” project, supported by Alma, currently requires additional funding,


Hungarian composer TIBOR SZEMZŐ, born in Budapest in 1955, began his musical studies aged six at the Kodály method school. After graduation from the Hungarian Academy of Music, Szemzö formed his own trio (later a quartet), and in 1979 founded Group 180. This influential ensemble, renowned for its performances of Hungarian minimalism, also performed works by John Cage and Steve Reich. Embarking on a solo career in 1983, Szemzö began integrating spoken-word and visual elements into projects otherwise dominated by flute and live electronics, and in 1987 he issued his first solo recording, “Snapshot from the Island.” The collapse of Hungary's communist regime enabled him to collaborate with international artists. In 1998 Szemzö formed a new chamber ensemble, the Gordian Knot. His notable works include Ain't Nothing But a Little Bit of Music for Moving Pictures (the score to a collection of black-and-white home movies compiled by Péter Forgács), The Conscience (a trilogy of narrative-based chamber compositions) and Tractatus (a half-hour piece inspired by Ludwig Wittgenstein). In recent years Szemzo's interests have increasingly turned to film. His award-winning feature A Guest of Life (intermixing documentary footage, animation, and Super 8mm film stock) was shot in Tibet.


All Music Guide

Written by Jason Ankeny



New Music America '86, Houston;  Wiener Festwochen '88, Ars Electronica '88 and '89, Linz, Austria; Music Now from Hungary '94, Yokohama, Japan;  Warsaw Autumn Festival '95, Poland; Unsung Music '96 and 2000, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London; Prague New Music Marathon ’96,’98, 2000,  Angelica 2000, Bologna, Italia; San Francisco Jewish Film Festival; Alternativa 2001, Moscow; Getty Museum, LA, 2002; Tribeca Film Festival, NYC 2007; Kolkata Int. Film Festival 2007, India, Buddhist Int. Film Festival 2009, Barbican Center, London, Budapest Arts Palace 2009 among many others. 


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