Kornél Zempléni is an Hungarian concert pianist and university teacher. He attended the piano section of the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music in Budapest 1940-1946, under Ernõ Dohnányi and Béla Böszörményi-Nagy. He is connected to Franz Liszt through his line of teachers.
After graduation Kornél Zempléni taught at the National Higher Musical Institution (Nemzeti Zenede) in Budapst from 1947 to 1967, and in turn taught piano at the Bartók Béla Zenemûvészeti Szakiskola (Specialised Musical Highschool), followed by the Liszt Ferenc Music Higher School, where he was leader of section from 1964 to 1981 and university lecturer (own cathedra) from 1983 to 1989. From 1984 he was teacher at the University of Arts, Osaka, Japan.
Kornél Zempléni gave concerts in Europe and overseas. His performances featured J.S. Bach, W.A. Mozart, Debussy, Kodaly and Béla Bartók compositions. He made many recordings, mostly works of B. Bartók (including his 1st piano concerto, under the baton of Ferencsik, in the 1960's in a church in Budapest) and other Hungarian composers, but also some J.S. Bach's keyboard works. Most of his recordings were done for Hungaroton.
Kornél Zempléni's distinctions included: Liszt medal: 1954, 1963; Acclaimed Artist medal 1976; Bartók Béla-Pásztory Ditta medal 1997. He used to be very interested in photography.
Kornél Zempléni married his first wife, Emilia (Emmi) de Varasdy, on November 25, 1946. Emmi de Varasdy (b Szombathely on July 25, 1925) is descendant of an aristocratic family on both sides: father Sandor Varasdy de Izdencz (1896-1970), mother (descendant of Charlemagne!) Henriette, condessa Zichy (b April 25, 1906). Emilia was korrepetitor at the Budapest Opera House for a long time, accompanying singers and was/is also a professor at the Academy or other higher musical institute. There were three children from this marriage: Laszlo (Leslie; b August 21, 1947)), Maria Luiza (b February 21, 1949) and Tamas (Thomas; b February 19, 1952). All three are musicians: Maria is an opera singer, and Thamas is a horn player. Kornél and Emilia divored in the early 1960's. His second wife, Andrea Szabó, used to be his student.
Source: Nicholas Koleszar (April 2008); Muzsika (Music), Sept 2002, Vol .45, number 9; BMC WebsiteNicholas Koleszar (April 2008, August 2008, December 2014); Matthias Hansen (Photo, November 2007)