Soloists

SOMA BALÁZS-PIRI

Soma Balázs-Piri has started to play the piano at the age of 8, his teacher has been Emőke Sóti Szobonya for 7 years.

His mentor is Gergely Bogányi, Kossuth- and Liszt Ferenc Prize-winning pianist.

Soma has won first prize at 20 international and national piano competitions, including two most important Hungarian competitions: the National Piano Competition in Nyíregyháza, in 2019 and the Bartók Piano Competition in Budapest, in 2017.

In 2018, he became the age group winner of the “Virtuosos” classical music TV talent competition. In 2019, he was awarded by the Minister of Human Capacities in Hungary and became the Young Talent of Szeged. In 2020 he has been appointed the Young Ambassador of Classical Music of Hungary.

While performing in New York with other winners of “Virtuosos”, he met opera singer Maestro Plácido Domingo, with whom they have become friends and keeping a professional contact ever since.

In 2019 the Maestro conducted Grieg’s piano concerto during the opening ceremony of Szent Gellért Forum where Soma was the soloist and in the next year they made their first music recording together.

In 2019, he gave an all-night concert with the famous London Mozart Players chamber orchestra in London.

He took part in master classes abroad and at home.

Soma Balázs-Piri’s dream is to travel around the world as a pianist and play in the most prestigious concert halls.

 

GERGELY BOGÁNYI

He was born in 1974 in Vác, Hungary and started playing the piano at the age of four. He continued his studies at the Liszt Academy in Budapest, the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki and at Indiana University in Bloomington with professors László Baranyay, György Sebök, Matti Raekallio.Coming from a musical family, Gergely Bogányi is one of the youngest pianists to have won the Kossuth Prize, becoming one of the leading pianists of his generation.

Starting his career early, Gergely was playing concerts around the world, even while he was still studying. He has won several of the major international piano competitions. A few mentions are: First prizes in both the Chopin and the Mozart competitions in Budapest in 1993, as well as Indiana University’s music competition in 1994. Gold medal in 1996 at the “International Franz Liszt Competition” in Budapest, one of the most distinguished competitions in the world.

In 2000 he was awarded the “Liszt Prize” by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage in Hungary, and in 2002 he was presented with the “Cross of Merit of the White Rose” of Finland by the President of the Finnish Republic. In 2004 he received the “Kossuth Prize” from the President of the Hungarian Republic, the highest artistic award of his native country. In November 2010 he was awarded a unique “Art Citizenship/Chopin year” passport by the Polish government. He is an honorary citizen of his home town in Vác and in 2016 he was given the same honour for the capital of Hungary, Budapest.

He has had the privilege of playing on the best pianos and in the finest music halls worldwide. Inspired by the influence famous pianists like Liszt had on the piano manufacturing of their time, Gergely describes himself as a relentless soul. Someone who is always searching to improve on things. Hence his ambition in creating the revolutionary Bogányi piano. One of the biggest and most innovative grand piano redesigns in 150 years.

Gergely continues his musical career in parallel with building the Bogányi piano brand.

 

MISI BOROS

Misi Boros was born on 11th April 2003 in Pécs, Hungary. At the age of 5, he and his brother received a piano and since then he has spent most of his free time playing the instrument. From the first moment he experimented with sounds, inventing his own melodies, and then he played them again and again, with variations. From the age of 6, he has learned to play the piano at the Liszt Ferenc Music School in Pécs, and his teacher is Mrs Ildikó Schmidt Megyimórecz. Since the age of 8 he has won national competitions for all age groups: twice at the Bartók Béla Music School Piano Competition (2011 and 2014) with a special prize. He has won first place in 11 national and international competitions, including Rome, Milan and Paris. He was rewarded with a number of special prizes at each location. In 2013, he was first in the youngest category at the 8th Mozart Piano Competition in Rome. In 2014, he won the Classical Music Talent, the Virtuoso, broadcast on the Hungarian Television, for the younger age group.

He has played in more than one hundred and fifty concerts, including 82 concerts in Hungary and around the world in the year of 2015. He has performed with sixteen orchestras and seventeen conductors at his more than thirty solo concerts where he played Haydn and Mozart. He has given solo concerts in Oradea, Milan, Paris, Aix-en-Provence, Stockholm, Göteborg, New York, Brussels, Zurich, Tokyo, Osaka and Beijing.

Misi is a Fellow of the MOL New Europe Foundation and the Small Virtuoso Foundation. He is regarded as a promising and outstanding talent by many international artists, including Tamás Vásáry.

 

LILLA HORTI

Lilla Horti Junior Prima and Cziffra awarded opera singer graduated with honour at the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music in 2017 as the student of Éva Marton. She completed her studies in Hungary and in Spain.
Miss Horti made her debut in 2017 on the stage of Hungarian State Opera and she has been a singer there since then. She is really active as a concert singer as well, she has held several song- and aria- recitals, gala concerts, and oratorio performances. She has been awarded several prizes and special awards at national and international competitions.

She made her first opera performance in 2013 as the First Dama of Mozart’s Magic Flute, which she has sung many times under several stage directing. Her roles include Mimí from Puccini’s La Boheme, which she debuted in 2017 as her first main character at the Hungarian State Opera, followed by Fiordiligi from Mozart’s Cosí fan tutte, Nedda from Leoncavallo’s I pagliacci, Rosalinda from Strauss’s Die Fledermaus, Bess from Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, Freia godess from Wagner’s Das Rheingold, as well as Mimí from Leoncavallo’s La Boheme or Anna from Puccini’s Le villi.

In 2020 Lilla Horti performed for the third time at the Summer Festival Academy in Budapest organized by Katalin Kokas and Barnabás Kelemen violinists and she sang at Cziffra Festival and „Zenergia” events of János Balázs pianist. She has performed at the Wagner Festival at the Palace of Arts in Budapest lead by Ádám Fischer for many years. The audience can see her singing mainly on main stages, concert halls throughout Budapest but she has already sung in Austria, Netherlands, Spain and in France as well.

 

BARNABÁS KELEMEN

Violinist Barnabás Kelemen has conquered the most famous concert halls in the world with his virtuoso technique and dynamic, passionate playing style. Versatile and open-minded, he is an outstanding soloist and chamber musician, as well as an artistic director of festivals and a teacher at renowned institutions. In recent years he has also worked as a conductor.

Barnabás Kelemen began studying the violin under Valéria Baranyai; as a student of Eszter Perényi, he graduated from the Liszt Academy of Music in 2001. He was enormously influenced by his later teachers, Isaac Stern, Ferenc Rados, and Zoltán Kocsis. He studied conducting from two giants of the Finnish tradition, Leif Segerstam and Jorma Panula. He is currently a professor at two illustrious institutions: Budapest’s Liszt Academy and the University of Cologne.

Due to his exceptional sense of style and his comprehensive technical proficiency, Barnabás Kelemen navigates with confidence through the entire catalogue of music written for violin. His repertoire is thus extremely diverse and he performs Early Baroque, Classical, and Romantic works with just as much authenticity as twentieth-century pieces. He is additionally a devoted advocate of contemporary music, with world or Hungarian premieres of works by Kurtág, Ligeti, Schnittke, Gubajdulina, Steve Reich, and Ryan Wigglesworth to his name.

 

MARIANN KERÉNYI

Mariann Kerényi graduated at the University of Szeged, Faculty of Music with an MA in piano 2002, and furthered her education as piano accompaniment and répétiteurat the Music Academy of Budapest. In 2012, she was given the Artisjus award, while in 2018, she was awarded the scholarship for arts given by the City of Szeged. She now works at the University of Szeged Faculty of Music as a teaching assistant, she is the répétiteur at the Voice department, whereas she also teaches at the Vántus István Music Secondary School. In 2020, she obtained a DLA degree at the Doctoral School of the Liszt Ferenc University of Music in Budapest.

 

DÓRA KOKAS

Born in 1992, Dóra KOKAS started to learn the cello at the early age of four from her mother. In 2006 she was admitted to the Liszt Academy’s Special School for Exceptional Young Talents, where she studied under the direction of László Mező. From 2007 she continued her studies in the preparatory class of the Vienna University of Music and Performing Arts, and later at the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music, where she is currently a first‑year MA student of Miklós Perényi.

Besides her academic studies, she had the opportunity of participating in the master classes of such world-renowned artists as János Starker, Steven Isserlis, Johanthan Cohen, Susan Moses, Csaba Onczay and Ferenc Rados.

In addition to her numerous triumphs at youth competitions in Hungary, she won the first prize at the Gorizia International Cello Competition in 2005, second prize at the Liezen International Cello Competition in 2004 and bronze medal in Dolny Kubin in 2006; in 2014 she got into the finals of the Pablo Casals International Violoncello Competition organized in Budapest and received two special awards.

As a founding member of the Kelemen Quartet, she has won a plethora of prizes at the most prestigious international string quartet competitions and took to the stage in the world’s top-ranking concert venues, partnering with musicians like Joshua Bell, José Gallardo, Nicholas Altstaedt, or Péter Frankl. She made her solo debut with a performance of Saint-Saëns’ Cello Concerto at the Gala Concert of the Young Talents International Music Festival in 2006. She has performed Haydn’s C Major Concerto and the Double Concerto by Brahms with her sister, the violinist Katalin Kokas on several occasions. She has played as a soloist with the Budapest String Orchestra, the Zagreb Chamber Orchestra and the MÁV Symphony Orchestra. In 2014 she was awarded the Gundel Art Prize.

 

KATALIN KOKAS

Violin and viola virtuoso Katalin Kokas is one of the most outstanding figures in  Hungary in the field of classical music. In addition to solo concerts, chamber music, performances with string quartets, and teaching all play prominent roles in her life. Since 2002, she has regularly held masterclasses all over the world and she has been an associate professor at the Liszt Academy of Music since 2004.

Kokas began studying the violin under Mrs Béla Gyánó in the city of Kaposvár when she was only five years old. Her tuition continued in Pécs with György Papp and then at the age of 11 she was admitted to the Liszt Academy’s School for Exceptional Young Talents, where her mentors were Ferenc Halász and then Dénes Kovács. At 16, she received a scholarship at Toronto’s Royal Conservatory of Music, where she was a student of Lóránd Fenyves. Following her time in Canada, Kokas returned to the Academy of Music where, tutored by Eszter Perényi, she graduated with honours. Her education was further enhanced by frequent visits to the private lessons and masterclasses of Ferenc Rados, Igor Ozim, Endre Wolf, Tibor Varga, György Pauk, Dénes Zsigmondy, György Kurtág, Jaime Laredo, and Leon Fleischer.

In 2004, 2005, and 2008 Kokas received an Annie Fischer Scholarship. Her work has also been recognized with the Ferenc Halász Prize and Kaposvár’s award for contributions to the city. In 2009 she was awarded the Liszt Prize by the Hungarian State and was also presented with Hungary’s Junior Prima Award.

 

MAXIM RYSANOV

Grammy nominated Ukrainian-British violist and conductor Maxim Rysanov has established himself as one of the worldʼs most vibrant and charismatic musicians. As a violist, he is principally known as a frequent guest of the crème of the international music scene, such as BBC Last Night of the Proms and the festivals of Edinburgh, Salzburg and Verbier. He studied viola with Maria Sitkovskaya in Moscow and John Glickman at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama London.

Maxim enjoys a busy career as a conductor parallel to playing the viola. Often he combines conducting and directing a concerto from viola. He studied conducting with Alan Hazeldine at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and has taken part in several masterclasses with Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Jorma Panula and Oleg Caetani.

Maxim is a recipient of various awards, including the Gramophone Young Artist of the Year Award and the BBC Radio 3 New Generation Award. He is also a prize-winner at the Geneva, Lionel Tertis and Valentino Bucchi competitions.

 

JÁNOS PALOJTAY

Instinct, analytical thinking and sensitive musicianship. This is what separates and defines the piano playing of Janos Palojtay, who came to international attention upon winning third prize at the Santander Paloma O’Shea piano competition. Since then, he appears as soloist and chamber musician in Europe’s most significant concert halls, among them the Hamburg Elbphilharmonie, the Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels, and the Salle Cortot in Paris, as well as in venues across the United States including the Herbst Theatre in San Francisco and Carnegie Hall in New York. Andras Schiff chose Janos as a soloist for the 2017/2018 edition of the Building Bridges European concert series, and upon the invitation of Mitsuko Uchida in 2018, Janos is a returning artist at the Marlboro Festival.

 

DITTA ROHMANN

Ditta Rohmann is a versatile cellist, whom we may encounter as a soloist in great concert halls as well as improvising with world-music ensembles, playing a major role in joint productions with dancers or as a chamber musician. In 2012 she was prize winner at the prestigious Leipzig Bach Competition. Her most influential teachers were Miklós Perényi, Suren Bagratuni, Ivan Monighetti, Boris Pergamenschikow and Ferenc Rados. She considers it important to apply, develop and hand on the knowledge she has gained. Ditta formerly taught at the University of Debrecen, and since September 2018 is an adjunct lecturer at the Liszt Academy in Budapest. As a result of her collaboration with Hungaroton, five solo CDs have been recorded in the past six years receiving positive reviews world-wide. Among the recordings we find all the solo suites by J.S.Bach, a portrait album with Hungarian cello music including Kodály‘s solo sonata. She has her own chamber series in Budapest titled Bach+ where her guests are exceptional baroque players.

 

SZILVESZTER SZÉLPÁL

Szilveszter Szélpál was born in Szeged, Hungary in 1984. He completed his secondary studies at Ságváry Endre Secondary Grammar School and as an outstanding student he was awarded the school’s medallion. At the University of Szeged, Faculty of Science and Informatics he earned his physics degree in 2009 and then Physics and Education Master’s degree in 2013. At the same time he continued his studies in the field of music, earning his Classical Singing BA degree at the University of Szeged, Faculty of Music in 2012.

Szilveszter Szélpál practices both the teaching and artistic vocation actively as being a member of the Szeged National Theatre, and a physics teacher at the Practice Secondary Grammar and Primary School of the University of Szeged.

He started his classical singing studies in 2001 at Király-König Péter Music School in Szeged where he studied with Szél Pálné and István Andrejcsik. At the Music Faculty of The University of Szeged he studied with Dr Mária Temesi and István Andrejcsik. During his studies he took part in master courses led by Adrienne Csengery, Krisztina Laki, Éva Marton, Magda Nádor, and László Kéringer.

Szilveszter Szélpál has participated in a number of singing competitions successfully. In 2006 he was a finalist and special prize winner of Simándy József Singing Competition in Szeged. During the same year he took part in two other competitions in Hungary earning the second place in Varga László Singing Competition in Orosháza and being awarded special prize in Székely Mihály Singing Competition in Jászberény. In December 2007 he won the first prize in the Music Competition of the University of Szeged.

He has been singing in the productions of the Szeged National Theatre and the Szeged Open-Air Festival as a regular member of the choir since 2002. He has been an opera singer and soloist of the Szeged National Theatre since 2009. He is regularly invited to guest appearances in Hungary and other countries. He has already performed on stage in Budapest, Miskolc, Szombathely, as well as London, Avignon, Mexico City and Jersey.

In 2015 he performed the role of Papageno in Mozart’s “The Magic Flute”, directed by Róbert Alföldi, and the production won the first prize in Armel Opera Festival. In the summer of 2017 he sang the baritone solo in Orff’s “Carmina Burana” in the Szeged Open-Air Festival. His operatic roles include Béni in “King Pomádé’s New Clothes” (György Ránki), Dandini in “La Cenerentola” (Rossini), Belcore in “L’elisir d’amore” (Donizetti), Melitone in “La forza del destino” (Verdi), and Figaro in “Il barbiere di Siviglia” (Rossini). He sang the title role in the following operettas: Jenő Huszka’s “Prince Bob”, Ferenc Lehár’s “Der Graf von Luxemburg”, and Pál Ábrahám’s “Ball at the Savoy”.

In 2015 he was awarded the “Best Young Singer of the Year” prize by the Assosiation of Opera Friends of Szeged. In 2016 he won the Dömötör Prize for Best Opera Singer in Szeged.

In 2019, he he won the Dömötör Prize again.

 

PÉTER ZOLTÁN

Péter ZOLTÁN was born in 1973 in Hódmezővásárhely, Hungary, where – inspired by his mother – he took his first lessons of music. Having completed his studies at the Szeged Conservatory of Music, he graduated at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Szeged as clarinet artist, master degree with „summa cum laude”.

Since 2007 he has been principal clarinetist of the Szeged Symphony Orchestra and the leader of the clarinet section. He has been heard as a soloist with the Szeged Symphony Orchestra on several occassions, including performances of Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto, Copland’s Clarinet Concerto, Mendelssohn’s Double Clarinet Concertos.

In 1990 he was the principal clarinetist of the European Youth Orchestra. Between 1997 and 1998, he was the principal clarinetist of the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra led by Maestro Claudio Abbado, Pierre Boulez, Kent Nagano, Semyon Bychkov, Iván Fischer and many others.

He has received several awards: Leó Weiner Memorial Competition Szeged – second prize (1992), „Bessenyei Ferenc Artistic Prize” (2011), „The best orchestral musician of the year at the Szeged Symphony Orchestra” (2013), Prima Prize of Csongrád County (2014).

 

ZOLTÁN ZSIGMOND

Zoltán Zsigmond is the Head of Department for Piano at the University of Szeged, Béla Bartók Faculty of Arts. He studied in Szeged and in Budapest at the Liszt Academy. In addition to his teaching activities, he regularly holds national and international master classes and gives concerts. He has performed in several countries in Europe, in the USA and in China.

His repertoire ranges from Baroque to contemporary music, and he is particularly committed to the presentation of contemporary Hungarian music. The premiere of several piano works by the Kossuth Prize-winning composer György Orbán is associated with his name. He also selected the program for his solo album released in 2020 from these works. Chamber music is also a significant part of his repertoire, he feels at home in all compositions of wind, string and vocal chamber music.

With his wife, pianist Éva Pap, he has been a regular player in the musical life of Szeged for more than three decades. They performed many outstanding works of four-handed and two-piano music to the city’s audience.