Serly, Tibor

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1901-11-25
Death 1978-10-08
Americans
English, Hungarian

Biographical notes:

Composer, conductor, and instrumentalist.

From the description of Letters from Tibor Serly to Henry Pleasants, 1931-1951. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 145435462

From the guide to the Tibor Serly letters to Henry Pleasants, 1931-1951, (L. Tom Perry Special Collections)

Composed 1931. First performance Budapest, 13 May 1935, Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra, the composer conducting.--Cf. Fleisher Collection.

From the description of Symphony in 3 movements / Tibor Serly. [19--]. (Franklin & Marshall College). WorldCat record id: 54409339

From the ballet about the British occupation of Philadelphia during the Revolutionary War. Commissioned by Catherine Littlefield for the Philadelphia Ballet Company. Composed 1936. Suites extracted 1937.--Cf. Fleisher Collection.

From the description of First suite from the "Mischianza" ballet / Tibor Serly. [1937]. (Franklin & Marshall College). WorldCat record id: 54409313

From the description of Second suite from the "Mischianza" ballet / Tibor Serly. [19--]. (Franklin & Marshall College). WorldCat record id: 54409316

Composed 1932.--Cf. Fleisher Collection.

From the description of Symphony in two movements / Tibor Serly. [19--]. (Franklin & Marshall College). WorldCat record id: 54409340

Composed 1935-36. First performance Budapest, 1936, Budapest Radio Orchestra, the composer conducting.--Cf. Fleisher Collection.

From the description of Sonata concertante / Tibor Serly. [1940]. (Franklin & Marshall College). WorldCat record id: 54409335

Composed 1936-37. Reconstructed ca. 1975 after original score was lost. Ballet concerns the entertainment, or mischianza, given by John Andre for the British occupying Philadelphia in 1778, which led to the victory of the Revolutionary troops. For two suites from the ballet, see callnos.: 3560 and 3561.--Cf. Fleisher Collection.

From the description of Mischianza : ballet in four scenes / by Tibor Serly. [1937]. (Franklin & Marshall College). WorldCat record id: 79617772

Composed 1937.--Cf. Fleisher Collection.

From the description of Alarms and excursions / Tibor Serly. [19--]. (Franklin & Marshall College). WorldCat record id: 54403314

From the description of Colonial pageant : symphonic suite / Tibor Serly. [19--]. (Franklin & Marshall College). WorldCat record id: 54403331

Composed 1932-33. First performance Budapest, 13 May 1935, Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra, the composer conducting.--Cf. Fleisher Collection.

From the description of Six dance designs / by Tibor Serly. [19--]. (Franklin & Marshall College). WorldCat record id: 54409334

Composed 1975-76.--Cf. Fleisher Collection.

From the description of The Pleiades : for chorus and orchestra / Tibor Serly. c1976. (Franklin & Marshall College). WorldCat record id: 54409328

Based on Taps. Composed 1945. First performance Chautauqua, New York, 1948, Chautauqua Festival Orchestra, Franco Autori conductor. Dedicated to the memory of the composer's brother, killed in World War I, and the memory of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.--Cf. Fleisher Collection.

From the description of American elegy / Tibor Serly. [1945]. (Franklin & Marshall College). WorldCat record id: 54403317

Based on Transylvanian and Hungarian folk songs. Composed 1926. Revised 1932. First performance Philadelphia, 1932, members of the Philadelphia Orchestra, the composer conducting.--Cf. Fleisher Collection.

From the description of Transylvanian rhapsody / Tibor Serly. [19--]. (Franklin & Marshall College). WorldCat record id: 54409346

Based on Hungarian folk melodies harmonized by Bartók. Composed 1946-48. First performance, Town Hall, New York, 27 February 1948, NBC Symphony Orchestra, the composer conducting, Emanuel Vardi soloist. Dedicated to William Primrose.--Cf. Fleisher Collection.

From the description of Rhapsody for viola and orchestra / Tibor Serly. [1947] (Franklin & Marshall College). WorldCat record id: 54409330

Composed 1952-54. First performance Columbia University, New York, 1958, Performance Trust Orchestra, Local 802, New York City, the composer conducting, Davis Shuman soloist. Dedicated to Davis Shuman.--Cf. Fleisher Collection.

From the description of Concerto for trombone and orchestra / Tibor Serly. [19--]. (Franklin & Marshall College). WorldCat record id: 54409306

Tibor Serly was born in Losonc, Hungary on November 25, 1901. He began his musical studies with his father, Lajos Serly, a Hungarian patriot, theatrical composer, and pupil of Liszt. Due to financial hardships, Lajos Serly moved his family in 1905 to New York City, where Tibor spent his childhood. Tibor gained early experience in pit orchestras led by his father until 1922, when he returned to Budapest to attend the Liszt Academy. There, he studied violin with Jenö Hubay, composition with Zoltán Kodály, and orchestration with Leó Weiner, graduating in 1925 with highest honors. During his years in Budapest, Serly also first made the acquaintance of his longtime mentor and friend, Béla Bartók.

Serly returned to the United States upon graduation and held positions as a violinist and violist in leading American orchestras, including the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Eugene Ormandy and the NBC Symphony Orchestra under Arturo Toscanini. He also became close friends with several modernist poets, including William Carlos Williams, Louis Zukofsky, Basil Bunting, and most notably Ezra Pound, whom Serly visited frequently at Pound's home in Rapallo, Italy, arranging concerts there. In 1938, Serly retired from performing to focus on composing and teaching.

In 1940, Béla Bartók and his wife emigrated from wartime Hungary to New York. Until Bartók's death in 1944, Serly devoted his energies to providing material and emotional support to the ailing exiled composer. Serly's papers include intimate photographs of Bartók and himself, as well as a home movie of an informal piano performance by Bartók. Serly arranged the "Mikrokosmos" suite for chamber orchestra, orchestrated the "Third Concerto for Piano", and posthumously completed the master's "Concerto for Viola" from sketches of the work. A talented decipherer and stylist, Serly also reconstructed a duet by Liszt and a section of Schubert's unfinished "Eighth Symphony."

From the 1930s on, Serly engaged in serious theoretical studies, developing a post-Schoenbergian enharmonic system called "Modus Lascivus," which divides the twelve-tone scale into two segments to create a multimodal chromatic scale system. Serly published two advanced theoretical texts, "A Second Look at Harmony" (1964) and "Modus Lascivus: The Road to Enharmonicism" (1976), and had just completed a third, "The Rhetoric of Melody", at the time of his death. Serly was also working on both a personal memoir and a biography of Bartók, the unfinished typescripts of which are included in these papers.

Towards the end of his life, Serly relocated with his second wife, the pianist Miriam Molin, to Longview, Washington, where he continued to teach and actively championed modernist music in the Pacific Northwest. At the end of his career, Serly was better known for his famous friends and collaborators, especially Bartók and Pound, than his own musical and theoretical work, a fact about which he complained bitterly in later correspondence. He was, however, indefatigable in his commitment to both innovation in modern music and preserving the rich musical traditions in which he had played a central role.

Tibor Serly died on October 8, 1978 after being struck by a car on a visit to London. His devoted wife Miriam, who kept his work alive through her performances, compiled the papers in this collection.

From the description of Tibor Serly papers, 1905-1992. (Columbia University In the City of New York). WorldCat record id: 299029469

Tibor Serly was born in Losonc, Hungary on Nov. 25, 1901. His first musical studies were with his father, Lajos Serly, a pupil of Liszt. Spending most of his childhood in New York City, Tibor Serly played in various pit orchestras led by his father until 1922, when he returned to Hungary to attend the Budapest Royal Academy. There he studied composition with Zoltán Kodály, violin with Jenö Hubay, and orchestration with Leó Weiner, graduating in 1925 with highest honors.

Serly then returned to the USA and held several positions as violist in various orchestras. In 1929 he began a friendship with Ezra Pound, frequently visiting his home in Rapallo, Italy and arranging concerts there. In 1934, while a violinist and assistant conductor with the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra, Serly went to Europe to study conducting with Herman Scherchen. After the 1937-38 season as violist with the NBC Symphony Orchestra under Arturo Toscanini, Serly devoted his life to composing and teaching.

In 1940 Bela Bartók and his wife arrived in New York as refugees. From their arrival unto his death Serly devoted most of his efforts for their support. He made arrangements of Mikrokosmos, and after Bartók's death, completed his viola concerto. Married once and divorced, Serly's second marriage was to the pianist Miriam Molin.

Beginning in the 1930s Serly was engaged in studying the "modus lascivus." After Bartók's death he resumed his studies of this scale which "permanently divides the chromatic scale into two separate segments, thus creating a multimodal chromatic scale system." Serly also explored performance techniques on various instruments, such as for the voice as in Consovowels and for strings in his Rondo fantasy in stringometrics. Towards the end of his life he relocated from New York City to Longview, Washington, where he continued to teach and compose. His last major theoretical work was the culmination of his studies with modus lascivus, codified in Modus Lascivus: The Road to Enharmonicism (1976).

Tibor Serly died in London on Oct. 8, 1978.

From the guide to the Tibor Serly papers, 1924-1978, (The New York Public Library. Music Division.)

BIOGHIST REQUIRED Tibor Serly was born in Losonc, Hungary on November 25, 1901. He began his musical studies with his father, Lajos Serly, a Hungarian patriot, theatrical composer, and pupil of Liszt. Due to financial hardships, Lajos Serly moved his family in 1905 to New York City, where Tibor spent his childhood. Tibor gained early experience in pit orchestras led by his father until 1922, when he returned to Budapest to attend the Liszt Academy. There, he studied violin with Jenö Hubay, composition with Zoltán Kodály, and orchestration with Leó Weiner, graduating in 1925 with highest honors. During his years in Budapest, Serly also first made the acquaintance of his longtime mentor and friend, Béla Bartók.

BIOGHIST REQUIRED Serly returned to the United States upon graduation and held positions as a violinist and violist in leading American orchestras, including the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Eugene Ormandy and the NBC Symphony Orchestra under Arturo Toscanini. He also became close friends with several modernist poets, including William Carlos Williams, Louis Zukofsky, Basil Bunting, and most notably Ezra Pound, whom Serly visited frequently at Pound's home in Rapallo, Italy, arranging concerts there. In 1938, Serly retired from performing to focus on composing and teaching.

BIOGHIST REQUIRED In 1940, Béla Bartók and his wife emigrated from wartime Hungary to New York. Until Bartók's death in 1944, Serly devoted his energies to providing material and emotional support to the ailing exiled composer. Serly's papers include intimate photographs of Bartók and himself, as well as a home movie of an informal piano performance by Bartók. Serly arranged the Mikrokosmos suite for chamber orchestra, orchestrated the Third Concerto for Piano, and posthumously completed the master's Concerto for Viola from sketches of the work. A talented decipherer and stylist, Serly also reconstructed a duet by Liszt and a section of Schubert's unfinished Eighth Symphony.

BIOGHIST REQUIRED From the 1930s on, Serly engaged in serious theoretical studies, developing a post-Schoenbergian enharmonic system called Modus Lascivus, which divides the twelve-tone scale into two segments to create a multimodal chromatic scale system. Serly published two advanced theoretical texts, A Second Look at Harmony (1964) and Modus Lascivus: The Road to Enharmonicism (1976), and had just completed a third, The Rhetoric of Melody, at the time of his death. Serly was also working on both a personal memoir and a biography of Bartók, the unfinished typescripts of which are included in these papers.

BIOGHIST REQUIRED Towards the end of his life, Serly relocated with his second wife, the pianist Miriam Molin, to Longview, Washington, where he continued to teach and actively championed modernist music in the Pacific Northwest. At the end of his career, Serly was better known for his famous friends and collaborators, especially Bartók and Pound, than his own musical and theoretical work, a fact about which he complained bitterly in later correspondence. He was, however, indefatigable in his commitment to both innovation in modern music and preserving the rich musical traditions in which he had played a central role.

BIOGHIST REQUIRED Tibor Serly died on October 8, 1978 after being struck by a car on a visit to London. His devoted wife Miriam, who kept his work alive through her performances, compiled the papers in this collection.

From the guide to the Tibor Serly Papers, 1905-1992., (Columbia University. Rare Book and Manuscript Library, )

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http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w67d2w13
Ark ID:
w67d2w13
SNAC ID:
75361321

Subjects:

  • Orchestral music--Scores and parts
  • Folk songs, Hungarian--Instrumental settings
  • Songs (Medium voice) with orchestra--Scores and parts
  • Poets--Biography
  • Concertos (String orchestra)--Scores and parts
  • Hungarian Americans--Music--History and criticism
  • Composers--Biography
  • Conductors (Music)--Biographies
  • Music--Manuscripts--Facsimiles
  • Symphonies--Scores
  • String quartets--Scores
  • Rhapsodies (Music)
  • Songs with piano
  • Dance music
  • Pianos (2) with orchestra--Scores and parts
  • Ballets--Excerpts--Scores and parts
  • Plucked instrument trios (Harps (3))--Scores
  • Orchestral music--Scores
  • Viola with orchestra--Solo with piano
  • Music--Manuscripts
  • Symphonies--Scores and parts
  • Suites (Orchestra)--Scores and parts
  • Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences
  • Trombone with orchestra--Scores and parts
  • Choruses, Secular (Mixed voices) with orchestra--Scores and parts
  • Instrumental music
  • National socialism and music--History--Sources
  • Music
  • Chamber music--20th century--Scores
  • Chamber music, Arranged--Scores
  • Cantatas, Secular--Score
  • Composers--Hungary--Biography
  • Canons, fugues, etc. (String orchestra)--Parts
  • String orchestra music--Scores and parts
  • Concertos (Viola)--Parts (solo)
  • Harps (4) with string orchestra--Scores
  • Orchestral music--20th century--Scores
  • Symphonies (Band)--Scores and parts
  • Conductors--Biography
  • Vocal music
  • Concertos (Trombone)--Scores and parts
  • Funeral music
  • Modernism (Music)
  • Modernism (Music)--United States
  • Cantatas, Secular--Vocal scores with piano
  • Concertos (Pianos (2))--Scores and parts
  • String orchestra music, Arranged--Scores
  • Music theory--History--20th century
  • Lullabies
  • Viola with orchestra--Scores and parts
  • Ballets--Scores
  • Plucked instrument quartets (Harps (4))--Scores

Occupations:

  • Composers

Places:

  • United States (as recorded)
  • Philadelphia (Pa.) (as recorded)
  • Longview (Wash.) (as recorded)
  • Longview (Wash.) (as recorded)
  • Hungary (as recorded)