Intermezzo – Zsombor Sidoo

Changes. Thinking about music trough music, a performers analytical approach

György Kurtág, Calmo, scorrevole, ***
Elliott Carter, Changes

The topic of my artistic, scholarly research includes the transformation and establishment of the unique harmony of the American composer, Elliott Carter. In particular, the solo guitar piece Changes will be treated. Carter's conceptualization of larger chords, in which smaller chords are combined with their sub-, and supersets, is objectively influenced by the methods of composers after 1900: by the polymorphic sound structures of Debussy, the “special" chord constellations of Scriabin and the modi of Messiaen. There are many reflections regarding compositional techniques in his writings and essays, but they are rarely concerned with contextual information, which deals with the “deeper meaning” of his pieces. Although countless examples from literature and from early days of cinema have been referred by the composer himself. The strict harmonic, polyrhythmic and formal structure of his compositions, whose foundation relies on the perception of time, is received by the listener through their embodied gestures.

In my research I always face the following questions: What are the epistemological values of an analysis of a piece of music, where the composer used several tools to pre-calculate the sounding material? Isn’t it a zero-sum game? What can the findings bring to me as a performer, how it could influence my interpretation? Can I get closer to the deeper meaning of such a composition, concerning the larger organizing principles, which deal with the operation of the human mind. Thinking trough other pieces of music about the one which is the subject of the analysis can shed light, from a performer’s perspective on these questions. “Deep listening” is the essential core of any interpretation of Kurtág’s work. In this performance my goal is to project that attitude of performing on Carter’s composition.

Internal Supervisors and External Advisors: Paolo Pegoraro (KUG) und Clemens Nachtmann (KUG).

Zsombor Sidoo


The Hungarian classical guitarist, Zsombor Sidoo, is one of the most promising guitarists of his generation. Born in 1997, he received his early musical influences from József Eötvös at the Franz Liszt Academy for Music in Budapest. Since 2013, he has been studying with Paolo Pegoraro at the Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Graz, and in 2021, he completed a master’s degree with the highest honours.  He has been studying composition with the Swiss-born Austrian composer and conductor Beat Furrer and often premières new works, including some of his own compositions. He is a prizewinner of numerous international competitions such as the International Instrumental Competition Markneukirchen, Concorso Pittaluga, Zagreb Guitar Festival and Mercatali Guitar Prize. Despite his young age, Zsombor Sidoo regularly gives concerts at prestigious venues such as the Ehrbarsaal in Vienna, Mozarthaus in Augsburg, Konzerthaus Klagenfurt, Musikhalle Markneukirchen and the Fricsay Hall in Szeged. In the past few years, he has been invited to perform as well as to give masterclasses at several Festivals (Postojna, Rome, Pordenone, Szeged, Vienna, Oberhausen, Jüchen, Poznan, Uppsala, Paris, Turin, Grado and Bale Valle). At his concerts, he presents a carefully selected program always including the great masterpieces from different eras. Zsombor Sidoo’s debut CD with three sonatas by J.S. Bach, Manuel María Ponce, and Hans Werner Henze was released in October 2019.