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He moved to Budapest with his family in 1918. He studied at the Academy of Music between 1926 and 1932, first the basoon, then composition (with Zoltán Kodály). His orchestral works were performed at public concerts and in the radio in the 1930’s.
In 1939, Darvas left Hungary and spent the war years in South America. Initially, he was a close associate of Erich Kleiber’s, later he contributed articles to music journals.
He returned to Hungary in 1948. In 1949-1950 he was music producer in Hungarian Radio, in 1953-1960 he was music reader there. In 1955-1957, Darvas was editor-in-chief of Editio Musica Budapest, he was artistic director of Hungaroton, the Hungarian Record Company in 1957-1959 and in 1960-1972 he worked as music advisor to Artisjus, the Hungarian Copyright Office.
Beyond composing, Darvas was also active in exploring the musical treasures of European culture, he arranged a great many compositions and published numerous books.