For me, the symphony orchestra is the perfect instrument: this is why it has been my dream since I was young to be a member of one and contribute to the sounds they were making. My key role model was János Ferencsik, who ranked among the very greatest both as a conductor and as a musician. I learned a great deal, and would gladly learn more, if I could, from Zoltán Kocsis, who left us before his time. These two outstanding musicians supplied me with a lifetime's worth of guidance. I thank them both!
I was born in Budapest on 21 January 1950. I was eight years old when I started to study cello under the tutelage of György Fellegvári. As a student at the Béla Bartók Conservatory of music between 1964 and 1969, I continued my training on the instrument with Ottó Kertész Sr. I was admitted to the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in 1969 to study with László Mező. After successfully passing a second admissions exam in 1971, I was able to continue my education in the artist training course, and I graduated from the academy with honours in 1974.
After an audition in September of that same year, I joined the Hungarian State Symphony Orchestra and the Hungarian Philharmonic's soloists, both led by János Ferencsik. After another audition on 1 April 1975, Maestro Ferencsik appointed me the orchestra's principal cello.
The next ten years were pivotal ones for me. Ferencsik's musical intelligence, unerring understanding of style, sense of tempo and perfect conducting technique made him a towering musician in my eyes. I learned a tremendous amount from him. Meanwhile, I was also working as a teaching assistant under László Mező at the Liszt Academy, and a few years later got my own class to teach. I was swiftly promoted, becoming first a lecturer, and then on 1 January 1990, an associate professor. I am proud to be able to report that many of my former students are now performing in major orchestras and chamber orchestras in Budapest, with others also teaching or engaged in a variety of other musical activities.
As a soloist with the Philharmonic from 1974, I spent around 15 years performing in concerts primarily here in Hungary, but also occasionally abroad. During that time, I played many solo concerts on Hungarian Radio's afternoon and evening concerts. Later on, I gave up my role as a soloist, as I was busy enough simply playing in the orchestra and teaching. I am fortunate to have played alongside many wonderful conductors and soloists. Just to name a few of them out of a long list, starting with the international figures: Claudio Abbado, Leonard Bernstein, György Solti, Christof von Dohnányi, Carlo Zecchi, Ken-Ichiro Kobayashi, Eliahu Inbal, János Starker, Leonidas Kavakos, Grigory Sokolov and Thomas Quasthoff. My illustrious Hungarian colleagues have been too many to name, but I can mention Ervin Lukács, Ádám Medveczky, Dénes Kovács, Zoltán Kocsis and Dezső Ránki off the top of my head.
The ones I learned the most from were László Mező, András Mihály, Zoltán Kocsis and the superlative, in every sense, musician János Ferencsik. The latter always said that the most important part of being an artist was sincerity. Kocsis, for his part, taught me about our obligation to respect the composer and every note and instruction they wrote.
To conclude, I would like to list some of the achievements I have attained in my career so far:
1969 – National Collegiate Competition, first prize
1973 – International Pablo Casals Cello Competition, second prize
1976 – International Bach Competition, Leipzig, fourth prize
1995 – Ferencsik Commemorative Award, Artist of the Year
1997 – Ferencsik Ring
2011 – Artist of the Year