City guide

Violin virtuoso Félix Lajkó hits Budapest for 2 shows

Photo : Róbert Bácsi / Fonó

Starting tonight, mercurial violinist Félix Lajkó is bringing his vivid mélange of classical, Balkan, jazz, klezmer and Gypsy sounds to the two most prestigious concert halls in Budapest. The Vojvodina virtuoso gives a solo performance at the Music Academy on January 4th, followed by a night entitled Félix Lajkó & Friends on January 8th at the Palace of Arts, also starring Polish ensemble Vołosi and renowned Romanian violinist Alexander Balanescu. On the eve of his solo show, we briefly caught up with the award-winning musician in his native Vojvodina, just over the Hungarian border in northern Serbia.

As passionate and fresh-faced as ever, Félix Lajkó has been performing his simply unique style of impulsive, capricious and utterly compelling music before live audiences for over 25 years. Just turned 43, this prince of improvisation has played with some of the most illustrious names in the music business, while essentially remaining true to his Balkan and Magyar roots.

Photo: Akvárium

Lajkó has also composed film and dance scores, and released a dozen or more albums, but the stage is his first love, as he told us while preparing for his two major upcoming concerts in Budapest.

 

“The live show is what I love best,” admitted the violinist, who celebrated his 40th birthday by giving a marathon series of performances from Subotica in northern Serbia to the Palace of Arts in Budapest.

 

Although the fixed dates in his live schedule for 2018 so far only feature these two Budapest outings plus one at the Gasteig, prestigious home of the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, Lajkó is a man in demand, regularly receiving concert invitations from around the world.

 

“It seems that London wants us to play there again, we have had several offers from around Poland, plus Russia and even Japan,” said Lajkó. “Then once summer starts, festival season comes round again.”

Photo: Y Produkció

Félix Lajkó live shows come in all shapes and sizes, solo, with friends or as a trio, as demonstrated at his most recent performance shortly before New Year’s Eve at the Royal Palace of Gödöllő.

 

Lajkó’s last studio album, ‘Most jöttem…’, released by Budapest-based Fonó, dates back to 2016 – he currently has no immediate plans to return to the studio. Lajkó’s previous collaboration with flavor-of-the-month film director, Cannes-award winner Kornél Mundruczó, should earn him further work in that field, given the plethora of top-quality Hungarian films being released these days, but he would not be drawn on any specific plans.

Photo: Fonó

Despite a demanding concert agenda that often brings him to Budapest and major destinations around Central Europe, Lajkó also has no intention of leaving his native Vojvodina. “This is my home. I’m just over the border, 200 kilometers or so from Budapest. Even if I lived in Hungary, I would choose to be in the countryside. I’m not one for big cities. At heart I’m a village person.”

 

The Hungarian-language Félix Lajkó website has easily discernable details and ticket information for all upcoming concerts.