b.1919, Hungary - 2012, Canada

István Anhalt was born in Hungary and came to Canada in 1949. Anhalt’s music to date falls into four periods: vocal and chamber music up to 1958; electronic music from 1958 to 1961; a consolidation of creative experiences from 1962 to 1971; and the creation of several major works of instrumental, symphonic and dramatic nature since 1971. Each of his works reveals a discriminating creative personality. 

He studied composition with Kodály at the Royal Hungarian Academy of Music and Nadia Boulanger at the Conservatoire National de Musique in Paris. Anhalt is the author of Alternative Voices: Essays on Contemporary Vocal and Choral Composition, published by the University of Toronto Press in 1984.

In 1949 Anhalt was appointed to the Faculty of Music at McGill University in Montreal. From 1971 to 1981 he was Head of the Music Department at Queen’s University in Kingston; he retired in 1984.

Artist Compositions


Premiere Title of Commission Listen
05/28/1996 Traces (Tikkun) Listen Close

Traces is not a conventional opera. Rather than conforming to traditional concepts of music, staging, drama, and plot, it is driven by the inner drama of every human life. In part, this deeply emotional work is autobiographical, drawing on Anhalt’s own experiences during the Holocaust. Multiple roles are adopted by the solo performer, who sings a series of monologues in a variety of different dramatic voices.