Kodály in California Still Popular

The Kodály Center at Holy Names University in Oakland, California, continues to teach and promote the methodology of Zoltán Kodály with the appointment of Hungarian Master Teachers for their summer institutes, as well as translating the choral works of Lajos Bárdos for English audiences.

Named after the famous Hungarian composer, Zoltán Kodály, the Kodály Center at Holy Names University in Oakland, California focuses on training and educating teachers, conductors, and others on how to apply the philosophy of Zoltán Kodály in choral and classroom settings and to develop their musicianship. The Kodály Center was founded in 1969 and has the reputation of being one of the major centers for Kodály music education in North America. There are opportunities to attend seminars, classes, summer courses, and degree programs, which also involve Hungarian faculty.

With the support of an HIF grant, the Kodály Center had two objectives that they strived to complete. One was the funding of Hungarian Master Teachers for the Kodály Center Summer Institutes. The goal was to ensure that Hungarian Master Teachers remain at the center of teacher training at Holy Names, especially in the areas of musicianship, conducting and choral performance. Over the span of three summers from 2014 to 2016, The Hungarian Faculty consisted of professors Judit Hartányi, Helga Dietrich, and Dr. László Norbert Nemes, who all came to teach at the summer program.

The second objective was to complete a project on the translation of the choral works of Lajos Bárdos. Initiated by Gilbert de Greeve and Judit Hartyányi, president and vice-president of the International Kodály Society, the goal of the project was to produce singable English translations, plus background notes for conductors, of a number of Bárdos’ choral works, as a way to make Bárdos’ works more accessible to the English-speaking world. The result came from a contract between Editio Musica Budapest and Gail Needleman (HNU Faculty), as translator, and Daróci Bárdos Tamás, representing the Bárdos heirs which had a selection of pieces representing a cross-section of Bárdos’ choral works.

One piece in particular, “Tábortűznél” (“Campfire Song”) has been performed by children’s and youth choirs at national and international conferences and by many children’s choirs throughout the United States and is increasingly in demand. Dr. László Norbert Nemes, Director of the Kodály Institute of the Liszt Academy of Music, conducted it with the honor choir at the International Kodály Symposium in Edinburgh, Scotland in 2015 and expressed the view that because of the singable English translation, this song would enter the standard repertoire of English choral music.

The continued presence of Hungarian faculty at the Kodály Center Summer Institutes at Holy Names University provide unique opportunities for higher level instruction, mentoring, collaborations (such as the translation project) and professional development for faculty, alumni and students alike. The relationship between our Hungarian/American faculty is highly collaborative and allows American faculty to keep abreast of music education trends arising out of Hungary. – Maree Hennessy, Director of the Kodaly Center

The Kodály Center at Holy Names University plans on maintaining the presence of Hungarian Faculty in order to continue excellence in music education offerings, opportunities for the mentorship of American faculty, special interest sessions, and further collaborative projects. Furthering the education of American faculty and students is also import, as the Kodály Center will continue to offer summer courses, undergraduate, and graduate studies and research at the Kodály Institute of the Liszt Academy in Kecskemét, Hungary. There is also the initiative to  develop a historical documentary film, and a video/film archive.

For more information on the Kodály Center at Holy Names University and the programs that they offer, please visit: http://kodaly.hnu.edu/index.cfm