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Event Information:

  • Fri
    05
    Nov
    2021

    János Balázs and the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France | Cziffra100

    19:30Müpa, Béla Bartók National Concert Hall

    Gala concert in honor of György Cziffra's 100th birthday

    TICKETS 

    Liszt: Hungarian Fantasy
    Eötvös: Cziffra Psodia – Concerto for Piano and Orchestra – world premiere
    *** Franck: Symphony in D minor, op. 48

    The highlight of the 2021 György Cziffra Centennial Year, this concert will take place one hundred years to the day after the incomparable piano virtuoso's birth. It is no coincidence that the symphony orchestra taking the stage for the evening is the Philharmonique de Radio France, as it was in France that the tempest-tossed Hungarian artist found a new home as an émigré and developed an intense relationship with the music world there. The programme also includes a world première by Péter Eötvös, a composer linked in many ways - both through his mother and his own childhood memories - to the great pianist.

    As Eötvös recollects, his mother was one of the people who tried to help Cziffra after he was sentenced to hard forced labor building the Miskolc University of Heavy Industry in 1950s, and he himself had the opportunity to hear Cziffra play - still marvelously, despite the tremendous damage to his hands from the ordeal - in a café. In Cziffra Psodia, his piano concerto also featuring a solo part for the cimbalom (to be performed by Miklós Lukács, one of the most notable masters of the instrument) accompanied by an orchestra, Eötvös attempted to convey the vicissitudes and adversities of Cziffra's life by means of music. János Balázs, to whom the composer has dedicated the concerto, will also perform one of Cziffra's spectacular repertoire pieces at the concert: Liszt's grandiose Hungarian Fantasy. The Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France was formed during the interwar period, in 1937. In recent decades, it has been conducted by such composers as Gilbert Amy, Marek Janowski, Myung-Whun Chung. Its current chief music director, since 2015, is Mikko Franck. Born in 1979, he was mentored by Jorma Panula and is now one of the most outstanding products of the globally successful Finnish school of conductors.

    The government of Hungary has pronounced the hundredth anniversary of the birth of György Cziffra to be a memorial year, and UNESCO has added it to its list of jointly celebrated anniversaries.

    The program is taking place as part of the György Cziffra anniversary year with the support of the Prime Minister's Office and the Bethlen Gábor Fund.

    Featuring:
    János Balázs (piano)
    Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France
    Conductor:
    Mikko Franck

Biography

János Balázs
– Bio

On the art of
János Balázs 

Teaching and education activity

Portfolio

“If you have heard János Balázs perform, you must have experienced a compelling and completely unique concert. He renders a 21st-century interpretation of classical music with spell-binding and superior technic and has a singular knack for capturing the audience. By doing so, he blurs the distance between the performer and his listener. His thematically unparallelled concerts and programme repertoire reach out to crowds – also the younger generations-, which he undertakes solely for the popularisation of classical music.”

He is keen to demonstrate his improvisation skills in various areas beyond the classical stage, such as jazz, world music, or folk music, which is always imbued with classical music’s values and the 20th-century tradition of improvision.

Music critiques highlight the delicacy and diverse colours of his piano playing, his unlimited dynamic scale and his fascinating virtuosity. Attending János Balázs’ concerts is a genuine time travel, as he evokes with full force the intimate ambience of the composers and pianists of the so-called 19th century golden age, like Franz Liszt or Frédéric Chopin.

He is a returning artist of the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, the Tchaikovsky Conservatory, Moscow, the Cologne Philharmonic, the Liszt Academy and MüPa in Budapest. He has given celebrated concerts on the stages of the Cité de la Musique, Palau de Musica, Barbican Centre, Wiener Konzerthaus and the Royal Conservatory. He collaborated with such famed orchestras and conductors as Charles Dutoit, Gábor Takács-Nagy, Peter Eötvös, the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Iván Fischer, the Royal Concertgebouworkest, Mikko Franck and the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France.

János Balázs is a born soloist who also received the ECHO (European Concert Hall Organisation) Rising Star “Artist of the Season” Award. He is well able to hold the attention of the audience by himself. Nonetheless, chamber music also plays a central role in his art, where he can delight his listeners with glamorous, sparkling and out-of-the-box performances alongside friends of a similar mindset and orientation, such as Mischa Maisky, Vadim Repin, or Jose Cura.

As a graduate of the Budapest-based Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music, János Balázs finds it crucial to pass on Liszt’s tradition to future musicians. Some major universities of the world have taken notice of this mission of his, and he has been invited by the Canadian McGill University, the Shenyang Conservatory of Music, the Hanoi Conservatory of Music, the Royal Conservatory of Brussels, and the Accademia Internazionale per l’alta formazione Rome, to give masterclasses. He was also appointed associate professor of the Liszt Academy.

In 2016, János Balázs founded the György Cziffra Festival, which he dedicated to the conservation and care of the intellectual and musical legacy of his role model, György Cziffra. The festival has risen to one of the most high-ranking classical music festivals in Hungary; with its diversity of genres and the kind participation of international guest artists, it is an unmatched colour on the palette of the Hungarian culture scene.

2021, the 100th birthday of the legendary Hungarian pianist György Cziffra was declared an official memorial year by the Hungarian Government, with János Balázs as its artistic director. In collaboration with Unesco, within the framework of the memorial year 2021/2022, over 150 events took place in the most auspicious concert halls of 45 cities of 17 Asian and European countries with more than a hundred performers, such as Martha Argerich, Mischa Maisky, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Arcadi Volodos, and Vadim Repin

János Balázs is an awardee of nearly all professional and state accolades. He is so far the youngest recipient of the prestigious Kossuth Prize, and as such, he is in the same league as musicians like György Ligeti, György Kurtág, András Schiff or Iván Fischer. His Young Steinway Artist title and the accolade of the State of Poland stand out from his international awards, the latter being conferred upon him for the performance of Frédéric Chopin’s complete works. Since 2023 he has been member of the Hungarian Academy of Arts. In 2022, his album ImprovisArt won the first prize and the audience prize of the Music International Grand Prix in New York, and he was jury member of the Long-Thibaud Competition.

Media

  • All
  • Koncertfotók / Concert photos
  • Profilfotók / Photos
  • Egyéb fotók / Other photos
  • Videók / Videos

Press

Why couldn’t we enjoy a Cziffra Festival ever after, even weekly or daily, if we like? – article by Sándor Olasz on the CD ImprovisArt (Sheva) by János Balázs Download

Célébration Cziffra Download

2009 concert critic  Download

Hungarian pianist conquers in his U.S. debut   Download

Management:
Anita Kántor | Phone:+36 30/450-90-64 | Email: kantoranita@cziffrafesztival.hu
Szilvia Besszer | Phone: +36 30/468-88-98 | Email: info@balazsjanos.com

Communication:
Anna Hegedűs | Phone: +36 30/565-84-42