Istvan Anhalt OC LLD D.Mus FRSC Composer 1919-2012
On February 24th at St. Mary's of the Lake Hospital in Kingston, we lost our wonderful husband, father, grandfather and friend in his 93rd year. Born In Budapest, Hungary, Istvan Anhalt knew at a very early age that music was going to be his life. But his life as a music student and member of a vibrant group of young artists and intellectuals was cut short by the war. In 1942 he was drafted into the forced labour service of the Hungarian Army, an experience which remained with him for the rest of his life, in particular because his dearest friend and fellow composer, Laszlo Gyopar, was killed by one of the guards of the camp on a march, when he could no longer walk. Three other fellow students of his close circle also did not survive. In 1944 Istvan finally managed to escape on a march through the Carpathian Mountains. He was sheltered in a Silesian Monastery by the Superior Pater Antal, and subsequently by his friends in Budapest, the cellist Jeno DeKerpeley and his wife Teresa. In the 1990s, through Istvan's efforts, both the DeKerpelys and Pater Antal were recognized by Yad Vashem as Righteous among the Nations. After the war, Istvan worked briefly at the Budapest Opera but when an opportunity presented itself to leave Hungary, he made his way to Paris where he resumed his studies in composition with the renowned Nadia Boulanger. After three years in Paris, he was granted a Lady Davis Fellowship, mandated to bring 30 stateless intellectuals from Europe to Canada. This brought him in 1949 to Montreal and the Faculty of Music at McGill University, where he taught analysis and composition, eventually becoming full professor. He was also instrumental in the early 1960s in establishing McGill's Electronic Music Studio
It was in Montreal that he met his future wife, Beate Frankenberg, whom he married in 1952. In 1971 he and his family moved to Kingston, Ontario where he took up the position of Head of the Music Department at Queen's University. Many of his major compositions - four operas, seven symphonies and numerous other works were written during the Kingston years, notably the four symphonic works inspired by commissions from Glenn Fast, the conductor of the KSO, whose confidence in him brought about the creation of some of his most beautiful works. Istvan received Honorary Doctorates from McGill University and Queen's University, and in 2003 was made an Officer of the Order of Canada. Istvan Anhalt was a man of great creative energy as well as a man of great intellect. Widely read in many fields, as well as an informed traveler, he was also a mentor to many of his students, a number of whom have kept in touch with him to this day. But most of all, he was a loving family man. As I write these lines- his Bea- after 60 years of a shared life, I want to say that this has been a wonderful life together, with not a day of regret. I am infinitely sad that it has ended but the memories will sustain me in the days to come. I wish to thank the exceptional staff and volunteers at St. Mary's for their compassionate care and many kindnesses extended to Istvan and myself
Istvan leaves his wife Beate, daughters Helen Jennifer Marcello (Rocco), Carol Greaves (Branch) and grandchildren Astrid and Claudia Greaves and Walker Jordan and his father Axel
Interment of ashes will be private. A celebration of Istvan Anhalt's Life and Music will be announced at a later date. Donations to the Istvan and Beate Anhalt Entrance Scholarship at Queen's University (contact Leigh Kalin 1-800-267-7837 ext. 75137), St. Mary's of the Lake Hospital, or the charity of your choice would be appreciated. Arrangements Entrusted to the Gordon F. Tompkins Funeral Homes, Central Chapel 613.546.5454.
Saturday February 25, 2012
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