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Csaba Király (Piano, Organ)

Born: 1965 - Komlo, Hungary

The Hungarian pianist and organist, Csaba Király, was 6 when he started learning the piano under Maria Apagyi. At the age of 12 he began to learn the organ under Istvan Lantos. From 1981 his studies were continued at the "Bela Bartok" Secondary Music School in Budapest with Katalin Halmagyi, and in 1983 he gained admission to the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music, Budapest. His professors were Zoltán Kocsis, Sandor Falvai, piano; Ferenc Gergely, organ. He received his performer's diploma in 1989 for organ, and in 1990 for piano.

During his student years Csaba Király won first prize in all national competitions organized for his age group: 1980 - National Piano Competition for Music Schools (Nyiregyhaza); 1982 - National Piano Competition for Secondary Music Schools (Bekestarhos); 1990 - Erno Dohnanyi National Piano Competition (Academy of Music Budapest). In the meantime in 1985 he - won the first prize in the National Piano Competition of the Hungarian Radio, being one of the youngest competitors, as a result of which he became known throughout the country. After several years teaching and concert giving he undertook to play in competitions again, and was first prize winner at the "Ennio Porrino" International Piano Competition in Cagliari 1996 (Italy), and the New Orleans International Piano Competition 1997 (USA).

Since his student years Csaba Király has given concerts regularly both as pianist and organist and his exceptional talents have made him a popular young artist. He possesses unbelievably fast learning ability and manual skills, which border the limits of what is possible. His musical inspiration has enabled him to overcome any external difficulties, and his susceptibility towards rarities and specialties means he provides his audience with an individual experience under all circumstances. He is familiar with all the fields of keyboard playing. Beside his solo recitals he often plays chamber music, or appears as continuo or orchestral player. He has appeared in concerts with about thirty famous orchestras and conductors. At the same time he also plays as a member of the Aperto Trio. His fondness for great variety is a constitutional characteristic, which has helped him to avoid one of the biggest threats to the successful artist, that of becoming routine and narrow. As a result he has now come closer to the conductor's profession.

Beyond his recitals at home, Csaba Király has had concert engagements in nearly all European countries, winning great success in Japan, USA, Canada, South Korea, Egypt and India. As a returning guest artist he has taken part in numerous national and international festivals such as the Summer Music Festival in Pecs; the Bartok Seminar Szombathely; the "Music of our Age" Festival Budapest; the Jewish Summer Festival Budapest; the Spring Festival in Budapest, Pecs and Szombathely; the Salzburger Festspiele; the ISCM World Music Days Stockholm; the Helsinki Biennale; the Frankfurter Orgeltage; the Rheindorfer Orgelkonzerte (Lustenau); Musica Danubiana Ljubljana; Musik Vredenburg (Utrecht); MittelFest (Cividale); Festa Musica Pro (Assisi, Orvieto); "Festival Lombardia Europa Musica" (Crema, Seregno); the International Piano Series - College of Charleston, SC, Stan Hywet Hall Akron, OH; Concertgebouw, the Holland Festival and more.

Csaba Király's repertoire covers a wide range from the Baroque to contemporary music. Besides performing works by J.S. Bach, L.v. Beethoven, Franz Liszt and Béla Bartók, performing the latest modern compositions plays a prominent role in his concert programmes. His name is linked with the Hungarian premieres of piano concertos by Lutoslawski and Ligeti. In 1993 he was awarded a diploma for distinction in playing Hungarian contemporary music. He played the UK premiere of the György Kurtág's Double Concerto in London, and participated with famous orchestras in the first performances of the G. Kurtág-Beckett: What is the Word? in several countries.

A characteristic aspect of his repertoire is improvisation, with which he has been dealing since 1973 as a member of the Martyn Ferenc Free School of Art in Pecs. Apart from free improvisation he mostly improvises himself where possible the cadences in concertos. He approaches music as a composer, which is proved by his numerous arrangements. He has made a significant number of organ transcriptions of orchestral and choral works, which he often plays not only in Hungary, but in countries from Western Europe to Japan and the USA (e.g. F. Liszt: Danse Macabre, Les preludes, Hungarian Coronation Mass; J.S. Bach: Brandenburg Concertos Nos. 2, 3, 4; Gustav Mahler: Symphonies Nos. 1, 8; L.v. Beethoven: Symphony No. 9; Schumann: First Symphony; Franck: Symphony D minor; Verdi: Requiem; Felix Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 4; Midsummer Nights Dream).

Csaba Király is attracted towards great missions and challenges, which gives him free energy for his creative work. Several times he has performed the complete J.S. Bach’s Wohltemperiertes Clavier, F. Liszt's complete organ works (1998-2000 Matthias Church, Buda Castle), J.S. Bach's complete organ works (2000 Dunaharaszti; 2001-2002 Deak ter Lutheran Church, Budapest, Mozart's complete piano sonatas (2006 Pecs, Dom Museum). Since 2001 he has been undertaking a huge series of one hundred concerts, lasting some years, of the complete piano music of F. Liszt. His piano-organ CD of F. Liszt: B-A-C-H Prelude and Fugue, B-A-C-H Fantasia and Fugue, Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen Variations was awarded "Classic CD of the Year 2001" in Hungary (Gramophone-prize).

In 2003 Csaba Király has been awarded a Liszt Ferenc prize for his artistic activity. In 2004 he started series of benefit organ concerts for the restoration of the big organ of the Cathedral in Pecs (Hungary). In 2005 he established the First Pecs International Piano Competition in memory of Liszt Ferenc, in which he was one of the jury members. In September 2005 he has been elected to be the Secretary-general of the Hungarian Liszt Ferenc Society.

Since 1995 Csaba Király has been teaching piano at the Academy of Music in Budapest, and regularly gives international master-classes in Hungary, Holland, France, USA and Japan. Between 1997 and 1998 he was a guest organ teacher at the Taegu-Hyosung University in South Korea. Since 2002 he has been an honorary teacher of the Martyn Ferenc Free School of the Arts in Pecs, and Associate Professor, Head of the Piano Department, Director of the Institute of Music in the Musical and Visual Art Faculty at the University of Pecs.

Source: Csaba Király Website (Compiled by:Laszlo Gombos, musicologist)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (May 2007)

Csaba Király: Short Biography | Recordings of Instrumental Works

Links to other Sites

Csaba Király (Official Website)


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