István Várdai (Cello)
István Várdai, a 30-years old Hungarian cellist, was honoured with several prestigious international prizes: in 2008 he won the 63th Geneva International Music Competition, and additional special prizes as well: the Audience Prize, “Pierre Fournier” Prize, “Coup de Coeur Breguet” Prize. He won the third prize of the
International Tchaikovsky Music Competition, Moscow in 2007. In 2006 he was awarded the special prize of the Emanuel Feuermann Cello Competition at the Kronberg Academy and received first prize at the 13th International Brahms Competition in Austria. István was a winner of the David Popper International Music Competition three times, in the years 2000, 2003 and 2004. In 2014 he won the ARD Cello Competition in Munich.
Since his debut concert in 1997 in The Hague, he has performed in New York, London, Paris, Prague, Vienna, Frankfurt, Munich, Geneva, Dublin, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Florence, Tokyo, Kobe, Beijing with great success. Along his starting career, he played with the world-famous musicians and orchestras like Mikhail Pletnov, Ádám Fischer, Zoltán Kocsis, Howard Griffiths, Gilbert Varga, St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra, Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra, Geneva Chamber Orchestra, Russian National Orchestra, Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra, Irish Chamber Orchestra, Suisse Romande Orchestra, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. He has been invited to Santander Festival, the Gergiev Festival in St. Petersburg, the Pablo Casals Festival (Spain), Festival of Radio France (Montpellier), Bellerive Festival (Switzerland), Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, Verbier Festival, West Cork Chamber Music Festival, Schwetzingen Festival and the Budapest Spring Festival. In 2010 he made his debut, among others, in Carnegie Hall and the Wiener Konzerthaus and performed with Gidon Kremer, András Schiff and Yuri Bashmet in the frame of the Chamber Music Connects the World series at the Kronberg Academy.
From 2004 István studied in the Class of Special Talents at the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest, from 2005 at the Music Academy of Vienna. Between 2010 and 2013 he continued his studies at the Kronberg Academy. From 2013 he became a member of staff of the Academy. He attended masterclasses of Natalia Gutman, Natalia Shakhovskaya, András Schiff and János Starker. In 2009 he was awarded the Junior Prima Prize as best young artist of the year, in 2012 he received the prestigious Prix Montblanc awarded to the world’s most promising young musician. His first CD containing pieces of Janáček, Prokofiev and the Elgar cello concerto was released in October 2009 by Ysaye Records. In 2010 he recorded the cello concerto of Johann Baptist Vanhal. On his CD released by the Hännsler label in 2013 he plays works by Mendelssohn,
Martinu, Paganini, Beethoven and Popper. His recent CD with both versions of Tchaikovsky’s Rococo
Variations was released in November 2014.
Mr. Várdai is, together with Kristóf Baráti, are artistic directors of the Kaposfest, Hungary’s leading chamber music festival. He plays a Montagnana cello from 1720.
ZOLTÁN FEJÉRVÁRI (Piano)
Born in Budapest in 1986, Zoltán Fejérvári studied at the Franz Liszt Music Academy of Budapest with András Kemenes, Dénes Várjon, Rita Wagner, Márta Gulyás and Gábor Csalog. Between 2006 and 2008 he won a fellowship to attend Dmitri Bashkirov’s class at the Queen Sofía College of Music, Madrid.
He was a prize winner at several international competitions: Cantù International Piano Competition, Italy (first prize), James Mottram International Piano Competition, United Kingdom (second prize),Ricard Viñes International Piano Competition, Spain (second prize). He has participated in several international music festivals (Tiszadob Piano Festival, Encuentro de Música de Santander, “Lisztomania” in Chateauroux, IMS Prussia Cove, CMCW Kronberg, Marlboro Music Festival), as well as in Carnegie Hall’s Professional Training Workshop under the direction of András Schiff.
As a soloist Zoltán Fejérvári has appeared with the Budapest Festival Orchestra, the Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra, the Concerto Budapest Symphony Orchestra, the Budapest Strings, the Pannon Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Solti Chamber Orchestra. He has worked with such famous musicians as Zoltán Kocsis, Iván Fischer, András Keller, Gary Hoffman, Zakhar Bron, Frans Helmerson, Ivan Monighetti, Joseph Lin.
In 2011 Zoltán recorded Liszt’s Piano Concerto in E minor, “Malédiction” with the Budapest Chamber Symphony directed by Imre Rohmann. This release on the Hungaroton label won the “Grand Prix du Disque” of the Liszt Society in 2013.
Mendelssohn: Variations concertantes
Stravinsky: Italian Suite
Kodály: Sonatina for cello and piano
Brahms: Sonata in F Major for Cello and Piano