Gyula Csapó is unique among Canadian University Composition Professors for his continued presence in the international avant-garde music scene for over two decades both in Europe and the United States. He has had intense formative professional contacts over the years with leading figures of new music (e.g., Cage, Feldman, Wolff, Ligeti, Kurtág, Eötvös, Barlow or members of the New Music Studio, Budapest, Hungary (Jeney, Sáry, Vidovszky, Dukay).
Having settled in Saskatoon in 1994, Csapó managed to maintain his international presence as a composer. He is a specialist in analytic minimalism, of the New York School, in European and American music after 1945, Twentieth Century Music, Central European music and in Nineteenth Century Music. The inventor of a unique technique called synthetism, he is a recipient of multiple grants from Canada Council and the Saskatchewan Arts Board and a wide range of commissions (The Burdocks, Continuum, KORE, Charles Ives Ensemble, Rivka Golani, Trio Lignum, etc.). His music is performed worldwide (most recent or near future performances include venues such as The Juilliard School in New York, Muziekgebouw, Amsterdam, Royal Festival Hall in London, U.K., Birmingham Conservatory, Music Gallery, Toronto, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Bartók Seminar, Szombathely, Hungary, CBC Radio Montréal, etc.). With articles about his music in The New Grove Dictionary or in Perspectives of New Music as well as book-length interviews, Csapó is one of the foremost exponents of new music in Canada. As an educator, he has extensive experience at both the graduate (Princeton, Liszt Academy) and undergraduate levels. His music is avaliable on CD by the Open Space (U.S.A.) and Budapest Music Center labels. By virtue of the impressive series of his scores from Editio Musica Budapest, Csapó is one of the most widely published composers in North America.
Csapó earned his doctorates from the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music, Budapest (D.Mus, Composition and Music Theory), State University of New York at Buffalo (where he studied with Morton Feldman and Lejaren Hiller) (Ph.D. in Composition), followed by a Habilitation with Venia Legendi from the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music (Composition and Music Theory). His habilitation lecture was entitled “The Notion of Viscosity in the Melodic Constructions of Hector Berlioz”. Csapó worked on a French Government Scholarship at IRCAM in Paris, France and was a Fellow at Collegium Budapest Institute for Advanced Studies (1996-97). He taught as Lecturer at McGill University (Orchestration, 19th and 20th Century Music, 1990/91) became Assistant Professor of Composition at Princeton University (1991-94) before settling in Canada in 1994 where he is now Full Professor and teaches Composition, Music Theory, Twentieth Century Music, Electro-acoustic Music and Contemporary Music Ensemble at the Department of Music, University of Saskatchewan.
2005 Gravemeyer Award winning composer György Kurtág writes in his appraisal of Csapó’s work: “His music… is answering the most timely questions with works of exceptional quality. His musical language is highly original and is strikingly powerful… His integrity and creative imagination…represents… one of the most important contributions in the field today.” The late doyen of Canadian composers, James Tenney, writing about Csapó’s opera, Phaedra, adds: “I was impressed by the conception, the unique sensitivity to the capabilities of the human voice, and the evocative orchestration[…] As a Canadian, I am also struck by how the multi-lingual aspect of the opera reflects and confirms the multi-cultural heritage of Canada”…