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Unique concert celebrates Hungarian violin legend

Son of the famous violinist Tibor Varga, music conductor Gilbert Varga has invited five of the world’s most promising young virtuosos to play a special concert at Budapest’s Liszt Academy to mark the centenary of his father’s birth. Varga senior enrolled at the same conservatoire at the tender age of ten. The event takes place on Monday, 18 October.

Tibor Varga was born in Győr in 1921, and received his first violin from his father, Lajos Varga, another violinist, at the age of two. He gave his first performance at the age of six, and by the age of ten he was playing the Mendelssohn Violin Competition and gaining admission to the prestigious Liszt Academy.

Among his teachers was Zoltán Kodály, and he would have also crossed paths with Béla Bartók. He made his first recording at 13, and was already touring Europe when he was 14.

Even if these details aren’t incredible enough, his later life proved equally dramatic. Emigrating to London in 1947, Tibor Varga taught at the Academy of Music in Detmold, Germany, for 35 years, founded the Tibor Varga Chamber Ensemble in 1954, began a new career as a conductor. He later headed an orchestra and music festival in Switzerland and was a frequent guest conductor for many major orchestras around Europe.

In 2002, at the age of 81, he was appointed visiting professor at the Music Academy in Graz, overseeing leading soloists. He developed an independent methodology for violin tuition, which he also published in several volumes. In 2003, at the age of 82, he died unexpectedly in Switzerland. In the days before his death, he was still enthusiastically planning the upcoming school year.

Next Monday, 18 October, Varga’s memorial concert takes place at the Liszt Academy, works by Mozart, Beethoven and Saint-Saëns to be played by the Pannon Philharmonic under the dutiful baton of Gilbert Varga.

The young virtuosos include Jinan Laurentia Woo, who was admitted to the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts when she was only four, and Vienna-based Mariam Abouzahra, of Hungarian-Egyptian parents who started playing the violin at the age of three.

Event information

Tibor Varga Memorial Concert 
Liszt Academy 
1061 Budapest, Liszt Ferenc tér 8 
Monday 18 October, 7.30pm
Tickets here 


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