Géza De Kresz, a prominent member of the international music world, was the founding president of the Hungarian Helicon Society of Toronto.
Born in 1882 in Hungary, Géza de Kresz began his musical career in Europe. After working as violinist at the Romanian royal court, he became leader of the orchestra and soloist of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra when it was directed by Arthur Nikisch and Richard Strauss.
In 1923, under the patronage of the late Vincent Massey, Kresz founded the Hart House String Quartet, which filled a void in chamber music in Canada and achieved renown for the University of Toronto’s Hart House as well. The Quartet toured Canada, the United States and Europe. It played a pioneering role in making the music of Bartók known in North America, since the composer’s works had not been included in musical programs on this continent prior to this.
The exceptionally talented musician proved to be an excellent organizer: while studying Canadian musical traditions, he founded the Toronto Little Symphony and the Kresz-Hambourg Trio, and organized twilight chamber concerts in the Museum Theatre. Many a generation of violinists grew up under his tutelage. As a senior member of the Faculty of Music at the University of Toronto, he contributed to the modernization of the theory and practice of violin teaching with a series of studies.
In the last years of his life, he toured Canada many times and was particularly interested in Canadian music. His death in 1959 brought to an end a prolific and outstanding musical career.
Article by Rose Dancs