Géza Frid was born on January 25, 1904 in Máramarossziget, Hungary (present-day Sighetu Marmației, Romania). In 1912, he moved to Budapest. After his graduation, Frid lived in France and Italy because of the Nazi escalation. In 1929, he decided to settle in Amsterdam. Géza Frid died on September 13, 1989 in Beverwijk.
Frid studied piano with Béla Bartók and composition with Zoltán Kodály at the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music.
During the occupation of the Netherlands, Frid, as a stateless Jew, could not perform. He was active as a forger of coupons and identity documents and took part in the artists’ resistance movement. In 1948, Frid was finally naturalized.
From 1946-1948, Frid was head teacher of piano at the School for Music and Dance in Rotterdam, and from 1964 to 1970, he was head of chamber music at the Utrecht Conservatory.
As a successful concert pianist Géza Frid made countless concert tours over the whole world. In 1948 he visited Indonesia, as the first Dutch artist to do so, and in two months gave more than forty concerts and piano recitals, as well as standing in for the sick conductor of the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra in Jakarta, Yvon Baarspul. He was also the permanent accompanist of the soprano Erna Spoorenberg (1960-1970). Together they went on tour through the Soviet Union in 1963, as the first Dutch musicians since the Second World War to do this.
The 1950’s saw Frid writing increasingly for Dutch music journals, covering a range of topics and musicians (e.g. Kodály and Bartók). In 1955 the Bartók Society was founded, with Géza Frid as chairman. From 1954 to 1970 he was music critic with Het Vrije Volk. In 1976, his book “Oog in oog met …” (“Eye to eye with …”) was published. In 1984, his bulky autobiography appeared: “In tachtig jaar de wereld rond” (“Around the World in 80 years”).
“Characteristics of his style are in any case a striking feel for rhythm and a melodic creativity rooted in the folklore of his native land. His works, often commissioned, were inspired by Bartók, Debussy and Ravel.” (Arthur Frid, 2016)
He was awarded the Amsterdam Music Prize twice: in 1949 and 1954 for his ‘Paradou, opus 28‘ for a large orchestra, and for ‘Etudes Symfoniques, opus 47‘, also for a large orchestra. Frid received a second prize in 1950 in the composition competition run by the Dutch World Broadcasting Service and the KNTV for his ‘Variations on a Dutch Folksong, opus 29‘ for choir and orchestra. A further prize was awarded by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science for the ‘Sonata for Violin and Piano, opus 50‘. Frid’s ‘Third String Quartet, opus 30‘ and ‘Fourth String Quartet, opus 50a‘ won respectively third prize in 1951 and a fourth prize in 1956 at the Concours International à Cordes in Liège.
On his seventieth birthday he was knighted by the Amsterdam Alderman Evert Brautigam during a jubilee concert in the Concertgebouw. In 1990 Géza Frid was awarded posthumously the prestigious Béla Bartók prize by the Hungarian Government for his complete oeuvre as “internationally renowned musician of Hungarian descent”.