Concerto Budapest Symphony Orchestra
One of the oldest ensembles in Hungary, they boast a past stretching back more than a century when the predecessor of Concerto Budapest was founded in 1907. András Keller, world-famous violinist professor, founder of Keller Quartet, has been music director and principal conductor since their centenary in 2007. He had the following to say about listening to music: “…we don’t even have to understand the music but rather listen and feel it, and allow it to flow through us. If somebody is prepared to make this intellectual-spiritual investment, it will enrich them to the point that they will see their entire life in a completely different way”.Read more
Through the work and artistic concept of Keller, the orchestra have undergone considerable renewal thanks to their youthful, gifted artists, the unique programme structure and themed festival programmes. In the past decade, Concerto Budapest have won over an increasingly broad audience base and have become a top-ranking ensemble not only in Hungary but on the international scene, too. Recently, they have participated in numerous international festivals and concert series, playing in prestigious concert halls in Europe, America and the Far East. Continuing on this pathway, they took to the stage in six cities across the United Kingdom in 2022 with loud applause and excellent reviews, and will be welcome again in autumn 2023. They are planning on touring France and in Asia in 2024, in order to further cherish and disseminate Hungarian classical music traditions worldwide.
Highly acclaimed Hungarian musicians such as Dezső Ránki, Dénes Várjon, Barnabás Kelemen, Kristóf Baráti and Miklós Perényi are regular contributors to the orchestra, in addition to Concerto Budapest’s returning international guest soloists and collaborators including Gidon Kremer, Heinz Holliger, Isabelle Faust, Khatia Buniatishvili, Anna Vinnitskaya, Mikhail Pletnev and Evgeni Koroliov. World renown composer-conductor Péter Eötvös joined as first resident conductor, while world famous pianist-conductor Mikhail Pletnev joined as resident artist to the orchestra in 2022.
The Concerto Budapest repertoire ranges from virtuosic, large-scale symphonic works by Stravinsky, Tchaikovsky or Shostakovich to classical concertos from Mozart or Beethoven, or contemporary pieces from György Ligeti, Thomas Adés, György Kurtág, Krzysztof Penderecki and László Vidovszky.György Kurtág, living legend of contemporary music, is the orchestra’s honorary president.
In 2018, the orchestra launched a major recording series covering masterpieces of music under the German label TACET. The first four albums in the series – with symphonies No. 9 by Bruckner, No. 9 by Dvořák, No. 5 and 9 by Shostakovich and No. 8 by Schubert – have already been released. The Dvořák album featuring Miklós Perényi was Recording of the Month at the German AUDIO magazine. It is expected that in the next few years there will be releases of further albums in the series, including symphonies by Mahler and Beethoven.
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Andras Keller, conductor
András Keller founded the Keller String Quartet in 1987 and has since given master classes and concerts throughout the world. As both chamber musician and soloist, he has appeared in every European country, performing at many prestigious festivals such as Salzburg, Edinburgh, Lucerne, Aldeburgh, Schleswig-Holstein and the BBC Proms. Outside of Europe, András Keller has been invited to New York’s Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, Washington’s Library of Congress, and many cities in Japan, China, and Korea. During his career he has worked with world-renowned artists including Mstislav Rostropovich, Natalia Gutman, Boris Pergamenschikow, Tabea Zimmerman, Truls Mørk, Gidon Kremer, Kim Kashkashian, Evgeni Koroliov, Boris Berezovsky, Alexander Lubimov, Juliane Banse, Khatia Buniatishvili, Vadim Repin, Isabelle Faust and Steven Isserlis, Heinz Holliger.Read more
The recipient of the Premio Franco Abbiati, Liszt Prize, and Bartók-Pásztory Prize, he was named an Artist of Merit of Hungary and was also nominated for the United Kingdom’s Royal Philharmonic Society Award. His recordings have been awarded the Caecilia Prix (BE),
Deutsche Schallplattenpreis, Edison Award (NL), Grand Prix de l’Académie Charles Cros (FR), Victoire du Musique (FR), MIDEM Classical Award (FR), Gramophon Award (UK) and Record Academy Award (JP).
András Keller was the Artistic Director of the Arcus Temporum Festival in Pannonhalma between 2004–2010 and has been holding to this position again since 2016. In 2007, he was appointed as Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of Concerto Budapest, formerly known as the Hungarian Symphony Orchestra. Under his leadership, Concerto Budapest has earned a reputation as one of the most respected Hungarian touring orchestras, annually presenting over sixty concerts in Budapest, in addition to concerts and festival appearances in China, France, Germany, Spain, Poland, Japan, Thailand, South-Korea, Russia and the United States. He recently created a concert film with Concerto Budapest, Gidon Kremer & Kremerata Baltica which won the Winged Golden Lion of the Venice TV Award and the Lovie Award as well.
For the last two decades, András Keller was teaching annually at the Aix-en-Provence Festival and has been a regular guest of Yale University’s Norfolk Chamber Music Festival and the International Musicians Seminar Prussia Cove. Between 2012-2015, he served as the head of the Chamber Music Department at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music. Since 2016, he has been teaching at the violin faculty of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London, which also appointed him as Béla Bartók International Chair in 2018. In 2021, András Keller was awarded a Kossuth Prize in recognition of his exceptionally valuable artistic career for Hungary, his world-renowned skills as a performing artist, equally dedicated to chamber music and contemporary music, as well as his successful activities as music director, lecturer and organiser of cultural events. In 2022 he received the Prima Primissima Prize in Music Art.
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Pierre-Laurent Aimard (piano)
Aimard begins the 2022/23 season by receiving Denmark’s most prominent music award, the Leonie Sonning Music Prize 2022 which will be celebrated in a series of concerts with Royal Danish Orchestra/Cambreling and recitals in Copenhagen and Aarhus. Elsewhere he continues to work closely with leading orchestras and conductors across Europe including Antwerp Symphony/Herreweghe, Radio Filharmonisch Orkest/Deneve, Deutsche Symphony Orchester Berlin/Chan, Orchestre National de Lille/Bloc and Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. He continues his collaboration with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra and Esa-Pekka Salonen, recording Bartók’s complete piano concertos due for release in Autumn 2023, and returns to Los Angeles Philharmonic for Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.4.Read more
In celebration of György Ligeti’s 100th Anniversary in 2023, Aimard will perform works by the composer in collaborations throughout the season, including, Seoul Philharmonic/Robertson for his Concerto for Piano; acclaimed German Jazz pianist, Michael Wollny on an improvisatory project around the Etudes and continuing to celebrate the composer through his unique recital programming.
In other chamber projects, highlights include collaborations with Tamara Stefanovich for Visions de l’Amen at the Boulez Saal and continued partnerships with Mark Simpson and Jean-Guihen Queyras for trio recitals including works by Lachenmann in Luxembourg and Vienna. Together with Isabelle Faust and Jorg Widmann, Aimard joins Queryas for Messiaen’s Quatuor pour la fin du temps touring the work across Spain in the Autumn.
Orchestral successes of the 2021/22 season included collaborations with Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France/Chung, Munich Philharmonic/Nagano, Bamberger Symphoniker/Honeck, Seattle Symphony Orchestra/Stasevska, hr-Sinfonieorchester/Altinoglu, Wiener Symphoniker/Afkham and the World Premiere of Klaus Ospald’s concerto with WDR/Poppe. In recital and chamber projects, Aimard continued to champion contemporary composers, performing works by Birtwistle, Lachenmann, Cage, Schoenberg and Andre in Berlin, Amsterdam, and Frankfurt as well as Messiaen’s colossal Vingt Regards in Paris and Amsterdam. In the UK highlights included Saffron Walden for Bach’s Well Tempered Klavier and the Edinburgh Festival to perform his Fantasy recital programme.
Having recently released a new disc of Beethoven’s Hammerklavier Sonata and Eroica Variations for Pentatone to great critical acclaim, Aimard releases a new recording of Visions de l’Amen with Tamara Stefanovich in September 2022. Recent seasons have also included Messiaen’s opus magnum Catalogue d’oiseaux which was honoured with multiple awards including the prestigious German music critic’s award ‘Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik’. Aimard has also performed the world premieres of piano works by Kurtág at Teatro alla Scala; Carter’s last piece Epigrams, which was written for him; Sir Harrison Birtwistle’s works Responses; Sweet disorder and the carefully careless and Keyboard Engine for two pianos which received its London premiere in autumn 2019.
Through his professorship at the Hochschule Köln as well as numerous series of concert lectures and workshops worldwide, Aimard sheds an inspiring light on music of all periods. He was previously an Associate Professor at the College de France, Paris and is a member of Bayerische Akademie der Schönen Künste. He took up the position as Head of New Music at the Reina Sofía School, Madrid in autumn 2021. In spring 2020, he re-launched a major online resource ‘Explore the Score’, after several years work, which centres on the performance and teaching of Ligeti’s piano music in collaboration with the Klavier-Festival Ruhr.
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