Anhalt, Istvan (1919–2012) By Elliott, Robin
Istvan Anhalt was a Hungarian-born Canadian composer and one of the leading figures in avant-garde composition during the second half of the twentieth century in Canada. Nearly all of his major compositions were written after his emigration to Canada in 1949. At various times in his works he made use of dodecaphony, electronic music, and extended vocal techniques. Many of his most significant compositions are for orchestra, but he contributed to all major genres, from solo instrumental works to opera. From the mid-1970s onwards he began to use more traditional compositional techniques, from which he fashioned an original, distinctive, and evocative idiom. In addition to his work as a composer, Anhalt had an important career as a university music professor and administrator (at McGill University and then at Queen’s University in Kingston) and he was also known for his work as an insightful music theorist. About half of his two dozen or so major compositions were completed after his retirement from academia in 1984.