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Bela Bartok
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    (March 25, 1881-September 26, 1945)
    Born in Nagyszentmiklos, Austria-Hungary (now Sannicolau Mare, Romania)
    Composed the opera 'Duke Bluebeard's Castle,' the ballets 'The Wooden Prince' and 'The Miraculous Mandarin,' the symphonic poem 'Kossuth,' 'Concerto for Orchestra,' three piano concertos and six string quartets
    Catholic turned atheist turned Unitarian
    He entered 'Duke Bluebeard's Castle' in a competition by the Hungarian Fine Arts Commission only to have it rejected as unstageworthy.
    He dedicated 'Duke Bluebeard's Castle' to his wife Marta, which, given that the main character locks away his wives, must have sent a mixed message at best.
    After divorcing Marta, he married one of his piano students, Ditta Pasztory.
    At eleven, he gave his first public recital; one of the pieces he played was his own composition.
    He collected thousands of Hungarian and Turkish folktunes, incorporated them into his work, and was considered a founder of ethnomusicology.
    As a protest against the rise of fascism, he refused to perform in Germany or Italy, and switched publishers from a German firm to an English one.
    He was composing up until his death from leukemia and noted, 'I am only sorry that I have to leave with my baggage full.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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