Zoltán Kodály, Hungarian form Kodály Zoltán, (born December 16, 1882, Kecskemét, Austria-Hungary [now in Hungary]—died March 6, 1967, Budapest), prominent composer and authority on Hungarian folk music. He was also important as an educator not only of composers but also of teachers, and, through his students, he contributed heavily to the spread of music education in Hungary. He was a chorister in his youth at Nagyszombat, Austria-Hungary (now Trnava, Slovakia), where he wrote his first compositions. In 1902 he studied composition in Budapest. He toured his country in his first quest for folk-song sources in the year before his graduation from Budapest University with a thesis (1906) on the structure of Hungarian folk song. After studying for a short time in Paris with the composer-organist Charles Widor, he became teacher of theory and composition at the Budapest Academy of Music (1907–41).