Forrai Award Celebration


The first International Katalin Forrai Award was presented at the 21st International Kodály Symposium, held in Kecskemét, Hungary, on July 31, 2013. The purpose of the Award is to commemorate the invaluable contribution Katalin Forrai made to early childhood music education not only in Hungary, but throughout the world. The recipients of the first Katalin Forrai Award are Naomi Chinen, from Japan and Christiane Pineau, from France.

Christiane Pineau, Erzsébet Szőnyi, Betsy Moll, Naomi Chinen

Naomi Chinen met Katalin Forrai in 1968 when Kati was visiting Nursery Classes in Japan. Inspired by Kati’s teaching, and with the encouragement of Kyoko Hani, Naomi studied with Kati in Hungary between 1969 and 1972. During this time she also studied with many other distinguished Hungarian teachers including Professor Erzsébet Szőnyi, Anna Hamvas, Maria Katanics, Helga Szabó, Margit Kaposy and Ildikó Herboly. After her return to Japan, Naomi had a remarkable impact on the education not only of young children, but also on the development of teaching skills among both new and experienced teachers. Naomi has also made a significant contribution to the Japanese Kodály Society since its foundation in 1978, and was Vice-President of the Society from 1999-2012.

Christiane Pineau started her career as a Kindergarten teacher, and later became responsible for training Kindergarten teachers herself. She studied both at the Kodály Institute in Kecskemét and at the Liszt Academy. Christiane worked tirelessly in challenging circumstances to convince people in France of the inestimable value of Kodály’s principles – no easy task, especially the use of relative solfa! She brought Kati to France on several occasions, and Kati helped to convince people through her exceptional teaching. Through the foundation of La Voix de Kodály en France in 2001, Christiane helped to ensure the continuation of Kati’s ideas in France. She served as president of the foundation through 2006, and is now their Honorary President. Over the course of the years, Christiane has been responsible for the publication of many articles and publications. In 1982 Christiane received the commemorative Zoltán Kodály medal, and she was awarded Honorary Membership of the IKS in 2005.

The International Katalin Forrai Award was established in 2011 through the efforts of Gilbert de Greeve, Past President of the IKS, and Erzsébet Szőnyi, former Director of Music Education at the Liszt Academy, and has three main purposes:
• To further the principles and teaching objectives of the late Katalin Forrai
• To promote international awareness of the importance of high quality early childhood music education
• To recognise the achievements of teachers who are providing the highest quality music education in early childhood settings

The Award is offered under the auspices of the IKS, and will be presented biennially. It is managed by an independent international committee of five members: Mary Place, UK; Helga Dietrich, Hungary; Betsy Moll, USA; Judy Johnson, Australia; and Mary Stouffer, Canada. To learn more about the award, please visit the IKS website ( or contact Ms Mary Place (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

Professor Erzsébet Szőnyi

During the ceremony in Kecskemét, Mary Place announced the award winners, who were in turn introduced by Betsy Moll (Naomi) and Helga Dietrich (Christiane). Professor Szőnyi presented the awards, adding eloquent congratulations in both English and French! In accepting their awards, both Naomi and Christiane spoke movingly of their friendship with Kati, and of her influence on their life work.

The ceremony was followed by a reception for the award recipients, and attended by members of Kati’s family as well.

Michalis Patseas, Mary Place, Katalin Vikár, Naomi Chinen, András Vikár, Christiane Pineau,
Erzsébet Szőnyi, László Eősze, Betsy Moll, Tamás Vikár

Anne Laskey