In Memoriam Dr. Mihály Ittzés

Dear Mihály,

It is with great sorrow and pain that we, all your friends, have to say farewell to you.

We could meet on numerous occasions and worked together for a long time. It offered me the unique chance to get to know you as the great scholar, human being and friend that you were. I am sure that this feeling lives with all our colleagues who ever met with you, listened to you or sought your help and advice. You were always prepared to give it, carried by your exceptional professionalism and integrity and always with your unforgettable kind smile.

In your various positions and the mandates that you accepted, you showed great responsibility and diligence. As Vice-Director of the Zoltán Kodály Pedagogical Institute in Kecskemét, you were a source of inspiration, always present for your colleagues and students, always available to listen and speak up where necessary. It was from the start of the Institute, in 1975, that I got to know and respect you more and more. I carefully treasure the time that we could work together on the Board of the International Kodály Society. First you served 12 years as Vice-President. Later on you accepted a mandate as Editor of the IKS Bulletin and helped us in so many other instances where your expertise was needed, even at the time of your busiest activities. The IKS owes you a very strong: “thank you!”.

The same counts for your work with the Hungarian Kodály Society, sometimes in very challenging and difficult circumstances, but always with your so positive attitude. It is impossible to list all your achievements in detail, therefore, let it be sufficient to say that your contribution to music, musicology and music education in general and to the heritage of Zoltán Kodály in particular, is and will remain of exceptional value.

Dr. Ittzés’ work, during a long and successful career, has been acknowledged and appreciated worldwide and rewarded with a number of prestigious awards all more than well deserved. To name just a few: the Apáczai Csere János Award, the Cross of Merit of the Republic of Hungary, the Kodály Award from the City of Kecskemét, the Szabolcsi Bence Award… Furthermore Dr. Ittzés was an Elected Member of the Hungarian Academy of the Arts and received Honorary Membership of the International Kodály Society. However, most people will remember him from the numerous lectures and workshops done during IKS Symposia or similar occasions and from the many articles he published.

All who knew you, Mihály, will admit that they learned from you and were inspired by you. You were exemplary as a true professional, an outstanding human being and a great colleague. But those who had the privilege of knowing you and your family more closely, know that you also were –and wanted to be– a great father. It is impossible to find the right words to describe my admiration for you and Kata, for the so necessary caring love you saved for your family. It is a lesson from which we all can learn: before everything else, we have to be good human beings. In the true sense of Kodály’s words, Mihály, you were a benefactor of mankind.

Thank you, dear friend, for everything, for your enlightened wisdom and friendship. You will live on forever, not only in our minds but also in our hearts.

Gilbert De Greeve
Past President