Portrait of the week: Barnabás Kelemen

2011.02.08. 10:54


An artist of ‘innate musicality’ with a technical execution that belongs ‘only to the greatest’ (The Guardian), Hungarian violinist Barnabás Kelemen has already captured the attention of the music world.
Kelemen Barnabás
Kelemen Barnabás

With a repertoire that spans from classical to contemporary music, he has performed the Hungarian premieres of the Ligeti and Schnittke Violin Concertos as well as the Hungarian premiere and world premiere of violin works by Gubaidulina and Kurtag respectively.

In addition to appearances with all the major orchestras in Hungary, Barnabás Kelemen has collaborated with the Royal Liverpool, Helsinki, Munich, and Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestras, as well as Mozarteum Salzburg, Belgian National, Lahti Symphony and Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester Berlin. He has performed with such esteemed conductors as Lorin Maazel, Sir Neville Marriner, Marek Janowski, Peter Eötvös, Robert Spano, Zoltán Kocsis and Ivan Fischer. As a chamber musician he has performed with Zoltán Kocsis, Miklós Perényi and Shai Wosner amongst others, with recitals in the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Wigmore Hall and Carnegie Hall.

Barnabás Kelemen's varied discography has been received to critical acclaim with his recording of Brahms's Sonatas for Violin and Piano winning a Diapason d'Or. Similarly his recording of Liszt's complete works for Violin and Piano was awarded the Grand Prix du Disque 2001 by the International Liszt Society. Among his more recent recordings are a live DVD of the complete Mozart Violin Concerti and CDs of Bartók's Violin Concerto No 1 and Solo Sonata.

Born in Budapest in 1978, Barnabás Kelemen tarted his violin studies with the acclaimed Hungarian teacher, Valeria Baranyai at the age of 6. He entered Eszter Perenyi's class at the Franz Liszt Music Academy at the age of 11 and later went on to become Third Prize Winner of the 2001 Queen Elizabeth Competition in Brussels and took First Prize at the International Violin Competition Indianapolis in 2002. In recognition of his achievements the Hungarian Government awarded him the Sándor Végh Prize 2001, the Franz Liszt Prize 2003 and the Rózsavölgyi Prize 2003. Since 2005 he has been a professor at the Franz Liszt Music Academy Budapest and a guest professor at the Bloomington Indiana University.

He performs on a Guarneri del Gesú violin of 1742 (ex Dénes Kovács), generously on loan from the State of Hungary.