Composer Andre Hajdu Dies
Andre Hajdu at his home in Givat Mordechai, Jerusalem. Photo: Public Domain

August 1, 2016

Andre Hajdu, a prolific composer and ethnomusicologist, dies at age 84 in Jerusalem.

Hajdu was born in Hungary on March 5, 1932. After displaying an early aptitude for music and the arts, he studied at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music under composer Ferenc Szabó, pianist Erno Szégedi and ethnomusicologist Zoltan Kodaly. With Kodaly’s guidance, Hajdu researched and published articles on Roma music and musical culture.

Hajdu escaped Hungary after the failed 1956 revolution against Communist rule and continued his studies at the Paris Conservatoire under composers Darius Milhaud and Olivier Messi. Hajdu visited Israel for the first time in 1966 at the invitation of Hebrew University’s Israel Adler and moved to Jerusalem that year.

He taught at the Tel Aviv Music Academy from 1966 to 1991 and, starting in 1971, at Bar-Ilan University, where he founded the composition department and served as the chairman of the music department. His academic research extended to klezmer and Hasidic music, as well as the Talmud and biblical philosophy. Hajdu devoted much of his career to creating pedagogical works to help music students learn. Those works focused on music theory and piano playing.

He received the Israel Prize for music in 1997.