Ferenc Erkel (November 7, 1810, Gyula - June 25, 1893, Budapest) was a Hungarian composer. He was the father of Hungarian grand opera, written mainly on historical themes, which are still often performed in Hungary. He also composed the music of "Himnusz", the national anthem of Hungary, which was adopted in 1844. The librettos of his first four operas were written by Béni Egressy. Beside the operas, which he is the best known for, he wrote pieces for piano and chorus. He headed the Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra (founded in 1853).