The Secrets of Gary Graden

The Hungarian National Choir’s Master Class for Choral Conductors
27. 02. 2022 – 06. 03. 2022


Dear Roxána,

Thank you to you and the team for the wonderful last week in Budapest.

I had a fantastic time and was exposed to many new experiences! I am delighted that the choir voted for me to join them for a concert next season. I am incredibly grateful for this wonderful opportunity and I look forward to making it happen and to when our paths inevitably cross again at some point in the future.


Jack Apperley – winner of the course

Dear Csaba,


It was a real pleasure meeting you and the choir last week. I had such a wonderful time and I was really touched that the choir wanted to work with me again. Please extend my best wishes and gratitude to them.


Jack Apperley – winner of the course

Dear Csaba,


I arrived in good health, the travel was quite nice, thank you. Working with you and your amazing choir was a huge pleasure for me. If you can, please once again tell them “thank you” from me, because that was something wonderful.


All the best to you!

Agnieszka Dlugolecka – course member

My dear Csaba,

I am so grateful for the days that we spent together. Such a joy to share the experience with you and Roxana and your beautiful choir.
As I said, your positive spirit and passion is strongly contagious! You made me feel so at home and welcome, and your positive energy was a source of great inspiration for me.

I thank you and congratulate you for a marvelous project.

We stay in touch, dear friend, and all strength and power as you continue your important work!


For now

Gary Graden, choirmaster of the St. Jacobs Kirche in Stockholm

Dear Csaba, Anti and Gyuri,


I offer you the warmest congratulations for yesterday’s concert. I am delighted it was finally possible to organise the course with Gary Graden after years of planning – there was a lot of work and preparation behind it.
It was an enjoyable concert with some special compositions and acoustic experiences. I offer full praise for the performance and musicality of the choir, it was a really great achievement to create such a high class production. I would particularly like to highlight the closing piece (the one before the encore), where the choir showed us such sumptuous colours and dynamic shades that we departed our seats in an uplifted mood.

I offer my warmest congratulations once again to you all for the organisation and the musical implementation, and please also pass on my heartfelt congratulations to the members of the choir.


With best regards,

Zoltán Kocsis Holper – choirmaster of the Debrecen Kodály Choir

Dear Csaba,


Warmest congratulations for the concert, it was very ambitious, featured some stunning works, and showcased talented, enthusiastic and youthful choirmasters!

The choir visibly breathed as one with the choirmasters, and I will repeat that their perfomance was amazing!

In particular, I would like to mention Roxi, who with her intelligence, radiant beauty and perfect preparation was in the end a worthy moderator for the event.

And it got even better when Graden showed us where to evolve, with a sound that dissolves completely in music, mediating loose waves of love.

Thank you for the invitation. We proudly sat beside our friends, who also really enjoyed this fantastic evening!

I wish you many more concerts like this!
Hilda Klinger – retired artist of the Hungarian National Choir

Dear Csaba,

Thank you for the invitation to last night’s concert. I would also like to warmly congratulate you for the finally completed masterclass! I’m sure it was a great experience for everyone to work with such a storied, prestigious choir – and naturally for the choir itself, too. Gary Graden is a really likeable person, I imagine it was great spending time with him.

Anyway, it was a huge pleasure to listen to, and the show was also very colourful, interesting and beautiful. By the way, it was really inspiring for me, as I am just about to start work on a mass – commissioned by Dávid Farkasházi – so it certainly did no harm to have a little refresher with some contemporary choral music.

Congratulations once again, on behalf of my wife, too, who also really enjoyed the evening.

Lots of love,

Péter Andorka – composer

Dear Csaba,


Warmest congratulations for the amazing choir!

Last night’s closing concert was a wonderful experience!

Hats off for both the musical and ‘human’ achievements (empathy, knowledge, emotional richness, stamina, and I could go on).

The whole concert was significant, really great, perhaps most importantly due to the standard and ability of the choir.

For the rest, you know best – I can only imagine.

There is a huge amount of individual effort and teamwork behind it, which I also offer my congratulations for!

The story was completed by Gary Graden’s uplifting ‘piece’ chosen to close the concert. It was also good to listen to the lyrics in both languages. (I’m sorry that the members of my family who speak really good Swedish weren’t there, I’m sure they would have loved it!)

You know, something always springs to my mind – the gift of age (?)…

I wish you good physical and spiritual health, and give strength to the others too!



Edit Petróczki – choirmaster

Dear Csaba,


Heartfelt thanks for inviting me, and for the opportunity to listen to the amazing National Choir directed by Gary Graden and the young choirmasters.

We offer you the warmest congratulations for the initiative and making it a reality!

Keep going with the course ‘genre’! The maestro came up with some amazing works. I was really looking forward to it, as I’ve always found the northern repertoire exciting.

The group of young choirmasters made a really good selection. Our students certainly found their place! I’m not surprised by the English Jack Apperley’s ‘special prize’, as he already works in the professional world and leads several ensembles. He was very relaxed, and his modes of expression were also made for the stage. It would be good if you could teach someone to be relaxed, but you need lots, and lots of kinds of practice, and (more) maturity. Not to mention a longer course… I don’t want to rank the Hungarian boys, but I was nervous for all of them. It’s not easy to stand in front of truly critical professional singers and direct them!

Returning to Graden’s conducting, his evocative style and relaxed yet compelling conducting was a great experience. He created some stunning colours!

I congratulate you once again for the refreshing experience and hope you enjoy continuing your great work!


Kind regards,

Judit Hartyányi, teacher at the Liszt Academy

Further pictures about the closing event: