"A boy sings ... a beautiful thing."

Kalman Halasz

The Texas Boys Choir

Kalman Halasz

Kalman Halasz was a unique gentleman. He was in reality a Renaissance man: a musician, a mathematician, a composer, a teacher, an organist, a concert pianist, and a teacher of the Kodaly Method.

We had one Hungarian who arrived in 1957 and was the one who introduced us to the Kodaly concepts of ear-training and sight-reading. His name was Istvan Szelenyi.

Within two years we learned of yet another Hungarian in New York City who had studied with Zoltan Kodaly, and in fact had taught in the Royal Conservatory, where he taught teachers how to teach the Kodaly Method. We began negotiations immediately. Within two months he had joined the staff of the Texas Boys Choir.

Mr. Halasz, who had been an organist at the Cathedral of Pecs, was a contemporary and a friend of Gyorgy Ligeti another composer of renown. Mr. Halasz had an opera of his performed at the State Opera . He spent ten years sharing his wealth of knowledge and the brilliance of his intellect with the members of the Boychoir before he died of cancer.

Mr. Halasz, through the Kodaly Method, developed for our choristers an "inner ear" awareness : an ability to hear a pitch mentally and silently in pre-phonation phase of vocal process. Eventually, there was added the ability to correctly tune pitch, and to conceive the tone quality to be sung. It is a phase of training that we have come to know, in developing the student's "inner space" as training the "silent voice."

With the establishment of the hand-signs or symbols, we were able to give to our pupils an entrance into a world of abstraction. We were able to teach the students to hear through sight, and to be able to visualize what he heard. This Method then became the path toward perfecting the pupil's total relationship to the world of muic which surrounded him: the non-vocal musical disciplines, the theoretical knowledge, and a dynamic creative activity.

from "The Big Book"
by George Bragg


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