International Katalin Forrai Award

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Anne Laskey, Kodály Center for Music Education, Holy Names University

The first International Katalin Forrai Award was presented at the 21st International Kodály Symposium, held in Kecskemet, Hungary, on July 31, 2013. The purpose of the Award is to commemorate the invaluable contribution Katalin Forrai made to early childhood music education not only in Hungary, but throughout the world. The recipients of the first Katalin Forrai Award are Naomi Chinen, from Japan, and Christiane Pineau, from France.

The recipients
Naomi Chinen met Katalin Forrai in 1968 when Kati was visiting nursery classes in Japan. Inspired by Kati’s  teaching, and with the encouragement of Kyoko Hani, Naomi studied with Kati in Hungary between 1969 and 1972. During this time she also studied with many other distinguished Hungarian teachers including Professor Erzsebet Szonyi, Anna Hamvas, Maria Katanics, Helga Szabo, Margit Kaposy and lldiko Herboly. After her return to Japan, Naomi had a remarkable impact on the education not only of young children, but also on the development of teaching skills among both new and experienced teachers. Naomi has also made a significant contribution to the Japanese Kodaly Society since its foundation in 1978, and was Vice- President of the Society from 1999-2012.

Christiane Pineau started her career as a kindergarten teacher, and later became responsible for training kindergarten teachers herself. She studied both at the Kodaly Institute in Kecskemet and at the Liszt Academy. Christiane worked tirelessly in challenging circumstances to convince people in France of the inestimable value of Kodaly’s principles – no easy task, especially the use of relative solfa! She brought Kati to France on several occasions, and Kati helped to convince people through her exceptional teaching. Through the foundation of La Voix de Kodaly en France in 2001, Christiane helped to ensure the continuation of Kati’s ideas in France. She served as president of the foundation through 2006, and is now their Honorary President. Over the course of the years, Christiane has been responsible for the publication of many articles and publications. In 1982 Christiane received the commemorative Zoltan Kodaly medal, and she was awarded Honorary Membership of the IKS in 2005.

The award
The International Katalin Forrai Award was established in 2011 through the efforts of Gilbert de Greeve, past president of the IKS, and Erzsebet Szonyi, former Director of Music Education at the Liszt Academy, and has three main purposes:

  • to further the principles and teaching objectives of the late Katalin Forrai
  • to promote international awareness of the importance of high quality early childhood music education
  • to recognise the achievements of teachers who are providing the highest quality music education in early childhood settings.


The Award is offered under the auspices of the IKS, and will be presented biennially. It is managed by an independent international committee of five members: Mary Place, UK; Helga Dietrich, Hungary; Betsy Moll, USA; Judy Johnson, Australia; and Mary Stouffer, Canada. To learn more about the award, please visit the IKS website ( or contact Ms Mary Place (

During the ceremony in Kecskemet, Mary Place announced the award winners, who were in turn introduced by Betsy Moll (Naomi) and Helga Dietrich (Christiane). Professor Szonyi presented the awards, adding eloquent congratulations in both English and French! In accepting their awards, both Naomi and Christiane spoke movingly of their friendship with Kati, and of her influence on their life work. The ceremony was followed by a reception for the award recipients, and attended by members of Kati’s family as well.

For further information about Katalin Forrai’s remarkable achievements and contribution to music education go to the 2005 Australian Kodaly Bulletin: Tribute to Katalin Forrai.

Katalin Forrai

Katalin Forrai with Zoltan Kodály, late 1950s

Photos below generously contributed by Ann Carroll from her personal collection. 


Dr Doreen (Dee) Bridges, Dr Deanna Hoermann and Katalin Forrai, 1988
Dr Bridges was the first person to receive a PhD in Australia in Music Education
Dr Hoermann is the founder of KMEIA and Foundation President of IKS

Brisbane Summer Course staff in 1990
Ed Bolkovac, Ann Comiskey, Judy Johnson and Katalin Forrai

Katalin Forrai at Main Beach, Southport, Gold Coast, 1990

Katalin Forrai in Ann Carroll’s Brisbane study, 1992

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