Memorial celebration, concert for Istvan Anhalt
Professor Emeritus Istvan Anhalt died on February 24, 2012 at the age of 92, after being hospitalized for a year with cancer.
“Istvan Anhalt will be remembered as a distinguished musician, composer, teacher, and scholar, as well as a stimulating colleague and devoted friend, husband, father and grandfather,” says Gordon Smith, Associate Dean, Faculty of Arts and Science, and former director of the School of Music. “Ever linked, his life story and musical career stand as truly remarkable in the history of music in Canada.”
Dr. Anhalt moved to Kingston to become the head of the Queen’s music department in 1971. His combined European and Canadian experience served him well in playing a key role in building one of the best undergraduate music programs in Canada, as well as overseeing the opening of the new music building, Harrison-LeCaine Hall, in 1974.
During his years in Kingston from 1971 to 2012, he wrote the bulk of the music for which he will be remembered, including four operas, a variety of chamber music, and a series of orchestral works, each commissioned by several distinguished Canadian orchestras. Dr. Anhalt was also a prolific author and musical scholar.
Dr. Anhalt was born in Budapest in 1919. He was a flourishing music student when he was inducted into the Hungarian forced labour service system in December 1942. After two years of deprivations and danger serving in a brigade in the Carpathian Mountains, he fled from his captors during a desperate forced march westwards, one step ahead of the advancing Soviet troops. He made his way to Budapest, and with the help of courageous friends lived in hiding for the remainder of the war.
After brief stays in Austria and Paris following the Second World War, he emigrated to Canada in 1949, making his home first in Montreal, where he taught at McGill University until 1971, and then in Kingston, where he was a Queen’s faculty member until he retired in 1984. He received honorary doctorates from both universities, and was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2003 and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2007.
There will be a memorial celebration of Istvan Anhalt’s life and music in Wallace Hall on September 23 at 2:30 pm, followed by a concert dedicated to Dr. Anhalt at 8 pm.