Swedish cellist Jakob Koranyi has firmly established himself on the classical music scene as one of Europe’s most interesting young soloists. Acclaimed for his commanding virtuosity, delicate sound and passion for diverse and innovative programmes, he has toured Europe extensively, performing in recital as well as a soloist in Vienna, Cologne, Hamburg, Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Stockholm and Luxembourg to name a few. Koranyi is a staunch advocate for all matters concerning the negative effects of climate change, which has led him to make the decision to avoid all fossil fuelled journeys, and to instead travel to his engagements using solely trains, electric car and bicycle. His views on sustainability have been highly regarded by orchestras, who support and respect his efforts to reduce his carbon footprint.
Koranyi has an extensive repertoire and whist he keeps up the traditional cello works, he has also performed premieres of Julia Wolfe’s new concerto at the Amsterdam Cello Biennale, Schnelzer’s ‘Crazy Diamond’ Concerto and Andrea Tarrodi’s ‘Highland Concerto’, which she dedicated to Koranyi, and who he will be working with again on another newly composed cello concerto.
Recent highlights saw Koranyi perform the Dvorak concerto with The Halle in Manchester, return to Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra to showcase Andrea Tarrodi’s Cello Concerto and to Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra for a performance of Prokofiev’s Sinfonia Conertante conducted by Jonathon Heyward. He also toured Brussels with the Flanders Symphony performing Haydn’s Cello Concerto.Read more
A keen chamber musician has seen Koranyi perform Bach’s Cello Suites nos. 1 and 5 at the Helsingborgs Konserthus in association with Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra, his return to a number of festivals including the Kammermusikkforening Festival Alta in Norway, the Festival Piano Biennale in The Netherlands, the Delft Chamber Music Festival and the Rovigo Cello City Festival.
Koranyi collaborates with distinguished musicians such as Elisabeth Leonskaja, Liza Ferschtman, Yura Lee, Simon Crawford-Phillips and Juho Pohjonen and has appeared in chamber music concerts alongside such international stars as Vilde Frang, Yuri Bashmet, Kirill Troussov, Kim Kashkashian, Leonidas Kavakos, Misha Maisky, Daniel Hope, Martin Fröst, Lawrence Power, Julian Rachlin and Denis Kozukhin. Each season Koranyi enjoys multiple festival appearances, which have included the Cleveland Chamber Festival, Kempten Festival at Dijon, Verbier Festival, Schloss Elmau, the Amsterdam Cello Biennale, Zutphen Cello Festival, Delft Chamber Music Festival, Peamarsh Chamber Music Festival, Danish String Quartet Festival, concerts at the International Chamber Music Festival in Stavanger, Martin Fröst’s Vinterfest and the Båstad and Gotland Chamber Music festivals. He is also a regular performer with the Chamber Music Society of the Lincoln Center in New York.
Orchestral highlights have included performances with the Stockholm Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Stavanger Symphony, Orchestre de Paris, Weimar Staatskapelle, Arctic Philharmonic, Northern Sinfonia Gateshead, Gävle Symphony Orchestra, Uppsala Chamber Orchestra, Filharmonia Veneta, Gothenburg, Malmö, Helsingborg and Norrköping Symphony Orchestras, working with conductors such as Lionel Bringuier, Susanna Mälkki, Marc Soustrot, Joana Carneiro, Okku Kamu, Eiji Oue, Michael Francis, Krzysztof Urbański, Yordan Kamdzhalov, Stefan Solyom, Thomas Söndergaard, Jaime Martin, Yan Pascal Tortelier and Christian Lindberg.
Koranyi was a Rising Star of the European Concert Hall Organization was also awarded the Norwegian Soloist Prize. An earlier recipient of numerous awards from international festivals and foundations such as Le Prix d’Honneur and Ferminich Prize from the Verbier Festival, in 2009 Koranyi received the 2nd Grand Prix at the Rostropovich Competition in Paris.
While still a student, Koranyi won first prizes in national music competitions in Sweden, most notably the prestigious Soloist Prize awarded by the Royal Swedish Academy of Music. Part of the award was the recording and release of his critically acclaimed recital CD “Jakob Koranyi, cello” featuring works by Britten, Ligeti and Brahms. On the strength of this recording he was labelled “a force to be reckoned with” by The Strad Magazine. Koranyi plays on a Joseph Gratiani cello built 1756 in Genoa.
Jakob Koranyi Talks About Sustainability in Music Festivals with the European Broadcast Union – 8 June 2022
Cellist Jakob Koranyi will feature in a European Broadcast Union podcast on the 8 June at 15:30 CEST, talking about being the co-founder of Järna Festival Academy and the importance of sustainability in music festivals. The online panel discussion, hosted by BBC Radio...
Jakob Koranyi Wins Inaugural Sixten Gemzeus Foundation Prize
Cellist Jakob Koranyi is honoured as the inaugural recipient of the Swedish music prize from the Sixten Gemzeus Foundation. Koranyi has firmly established himself on the classical music scene, collaborating with many of the world’s leading orchestras and conductors...
“In my twenty years as a critic I have never struggled more for words. I am overwhelmed. I cling on to facts to avoid falling over. Jakob Koranyi has a rare simplicity in his musicianship. His playing is light, and he avoids unnecessary vibrato. He does not allow tones to glide in to each other with emotions as the excuse. Rhythm and pulse are important. This approach may be called correct in this style, and forms a base for what I call purity. But at the same time, talking about style feels petty after this concert. Koranyis playing is personal, but also so much more than personal. He never exaggerates anything, my impression is that he – rather than loading Bach with emotion – opens himself up and becomes a link between the composer and the present. The feather light touch bears an immense force. How can a simply natural flow encompass so many vital details?”
“Koranyi played elegantly, with carefully considered note placement, drawing subtle emotions out of the score… it was a disappointment [the performance] ended so soon.”
“A force to be reckoned with…”
“The highlight of the night was Jakob Koranyi’s performance of Shostakovich’s first cello concerto. Koranyi’s pitch-perfect playing can be described as soft and weightless. His interpretation brought new dimensions to the music. The great interplay between the soloist and the conductor led to a magnificent performance.”
Nicholas Ringskog Ferrada-Noli, dn.se
“The tempo of the first movement pulled the allegretto into Allegro. Koranyi’s delicate tone formation was sheer, sleek and subtle. He played in brilliant and energetic style and the caricature-like melodies were handled with easy irony. “
Erik Wallrup, SvD Kultur
“The evening’s highlight was the soloist in Shostakovich’s first cello concerto, Jakob Koranyi…Koranyi’s performance was daringly soft and weightless, with intense feeling in each note – making the work seem as if it was brand new. It was a heart-stopping show, with great chemistry between soloist and conductor, who made the audience feel totally satisfied. “
“Particularly special was the selection from Bach’s Cello Suites – solitary entrancement in its purest form – played by Jakob Koranyi in duet with dancer Heather Ware from dance company LeineRoebana. While Koranyi moved freely through the Suites, sleeves rolled up and his gaze fixed on Ware, she played around him with a sophisticated choreography. The way in which her dancing, falling, toiling, sweating body, mirrored in the glass ceiling of the Van der Mandelzaal, slowly but surely melted together with the ethereal beauty of Bach was simply spectacular. The heavenly Cello Suites as the higher art of seduction.”
“With an enchanting musical performance and incredible technique Koranyi enthralled the audience. He has established himself as one of the most exciting young soloists on the European music scene and here it is evident why. His fingers danced, jumped and ran over the strings with virtuoso musicianship and the expression was wonderfully dynamic and agreeable.”
“Four introductory notes so beautiful that you can lose yourself in them. They give, we'll see, a completely accurate picture of what is to come this afternoon with Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827). Jakob Koranyi and Simon Crawford-Phillips are now touring with the five sonatas for piano and cello, but divided into two different programmes. At this concert three of them were played and first up is No. 1 in F major op. 5, No. 1, from 1796, a time when Beethoven began to make a name for himself in Vienna, where he moved four years earlier. In the Adagio sostenuto – Allegro it is immediately eminent how remarkably clean the sound of the cello is, the intonation is straight to the core without any search for it. The character of the Allegro vivace is alternating between great power and outward direction to the soft and gentle. The interplay of the duo is extremely tight. Tempo shifts and common trills could reveal shortcomings in this, but the glue is holding together all the way and the music's breathing and direction is one. In addition, although the cello and piano are such essentially different instruments there is a marvelous tonal unity. A more mature Beethoven is expressed in Sonata no. 4 in C major op. 102 No. 1, from 1815. In this two-plus-two-movement sonata one notices how directly the cello strings respond in all the rapid imitation passages, with rich and present tonal quality. Twelve short variations in F major over the theme of Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen from Mozart's Magic Flute, Op. 66 from 1798, feel playful when they float by and pave the way for the Sonata no. 5 in D major op. 102, no. 2 from 1815. Here the Adagio con molto Sentimento d'affetto absolutely must be seen as the concert’s highlight. So expressive, so sensitive, dormant and still. So beautiful! All the stress becomes quiet. In the Fugato part one’s perception of rhythm is challenged when the composer plays with emphasis, the music's own inner power and resistance increases. The encore is Beethoven's seven variations over the theme Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen from Mozart's Magic Flute. Outstanding musicians with great stage presence have given us food for the soul, and we thank them with warm, strong applause.”
“The lyrical cello, played brilliantly on the front bow of the stage by the Swedish Jakob Koranyi as part of the Cello Biennale, braces itself against the percussional eruptions of the four students of the Amsterdam Conservatory behind him.”
“The excellent lecture was framed by the masterful playing of the Swedish Cellist Jakob Koranyi who offered the audience two extremes : Johann Sebastian Bach’s Suite No. 1 G major for Violoncello and a piece entitled “Knock, Breathe, Shine” by the Finish contemporary composer Esa-Pekka Salonen. The latter captivated the audience with refined pizzicato at the beginning and at the end fast with paced virtuosity. The young musician earned a rapturous applause from the overwhelmed audience for his unforgettable performance”
Von Imme Lorek, Neue Westfälische
“Jakob Koranyi won his audience with the competition piece, “knock, breathe, shine”, by Esa-Pekka Salonen. In a very percussive first movement, the cellist showed his great technic mastery but made this contemporary piece understandable for the public. The two other movements let him express his virtuosity and his beautiful sound. “
“Although he takes the sophisticated piano work in a similarly suitable way into the second movement, the interpretation goes against the well-known Konzert in A Minor for Cello and Orchestra Op. 33 by Camille Saint-Saens like a grand, dark and forward-moving ballad. Jakob Koranyi, the young Swedish Soloist will soon become a house-hold name when he so obviously ignores conventional interpretations such as in this case and follows his own intuition and trusts his unobtrusive and flexible musicality and performs together with such an eloquent and elegant tone, which puts both conductor and orchestra under his spell. Lots of discussion has grown out of a short reprobating concert.”
“Brahms' First Cello Sonata was for the ears, including the dramatically pointed scenes that develop the perfect combination of Koranyi with pianist Simon Crawford-Phillips. Rich, attractive dances mixed with hints of folk music reveals the second movement, and Koranyi comes up with wonderful harmonic passages. And after the highly expressive Largo at the Frieder Burda Museum there is breathless silence. In the finale the joy of playing the music is savoured fully – the continuous comprehensibility of the score is enhanced by this duo being precisely coordinated. As a reward for the sustained applause, a cello encore par excellence is served: "The Swan" from Saint-Saens' Carnival of the Animals revolves with sumptuous laps on the romantic wall of his sound.”
“In Esa-Pekka Salonen's composition “Knock, Breathe, Shine" the cello stands alone. In this work, the different sound worlds of the cello come apart and Jakob Koranyi skill shines through. Then the cellist whirled a distinctive staccato exchange with varying Pizzicati. In the second movement, entitled "Breathe”, he showed through his soft tone, the sweetness and power of the melody. In the theme entitled “Shine” he expresses technical brilliance and acrobatics like a curvy Formula 1 track. […] The conclusion of the concert was devoted to Jakob Koranyi's Sonata for Cello and Piano in D minor, Op. 38 by Shostakovich. His sophisticated interpretation of compositions by Russian composers are always worthy of an award. And so the cellist and his congenial partner at the piano realised subtle allusions, which Shostakovich worked in to the piece under the terms of difficult and complicated Soviet censorship.”
Gerhard Volker, BNN
“The piece is hardly simple yet sounded incredibly beautiful. The first movement was rather calm and all about harmony and melodies, whereas the second was much more energetic and required some insanely virtuoso playing from Koranyi. At times I wasn’t sure if I was really listening to just one instrument.”
“I was totally unprepared for the duo sonata: which was boffo. Absolutely rock-’em-sock-’em, mesmerizingly perfect: in rhythm, color, texture, dynamics, feeling—everything. The second movement, Très vif, was aggressive and biting while never losing musicality. The following movement, Lent, spoke what I can best describe as a straightforward sublimity. The players never put a foot wrong; they milked the sonata for all it was worth (which is a lot). Yura Lee was almost startlingly alive. I wondered whether the Sunday-afternoon audience would appreciate what they were hearing. They did, calling the players back again and again.”
“The two soloists lift an arduous and rather unconventional program to a singular musical experience […] A total absence of triviality characterizes Jakob Koranyi's and Denis Kozhukhin's performances. They play as if every bar would be the last one, with an enthusiasm which takes the audience's and reviewer's breaths away. But this is the feeling of real art…Musical delight, first rate technique, and total insight, indeed the ovations did not wish to come to an end that Tuesday evening. An unforgettable concert."”
Jan-Olov Nyström, Hudiksvaksvalls Tidning