Classicus Ensemble - artists in residence at CEU

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Photo © Balázs Arnóth

Classicus et Universus Ensemble

Zoltán Fejérvári and János Palojtay (piano), Péter Tornyai (violin/viola) and Tamás Zétényi (cello) started playing chamber music together as students of the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest. In addition to their studies at the Academy, they have held fellowships at universities like the Mozarteum in Salzburg, the Escuela Superior in Madrid, Universitaet der Künste in Berlin, and Bard College in New York State. They have played at major festivals in Hungary and abroad, and have performed together and on their own at prestigious venues.

Zoltán has recently won 2nd prize at the James Mottram International Piano Competition in Manchester, and also 2nd prize at the Lleida International Piano Competition. He has just performed Bartók’s First Piano Concerto with the Budapest Festival Orchestra.

János is a regular participant of prestigeous festivals in Hungary and abroad. This year he will be performing Mendelssohn’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra led by Christopher Hogwood.

Péter, who also majors in composition, won the first prize in the chamber music category of the 2011 New Hungarian Music Forum with a new composition. His new orchestra piece ‘Ach Gott und Herr’ was premiered this summer by the Animae Musicae Chamber Orchestra. As an active chamber musician is performing widely in Hungary.

Tamás was a visiting fellow at Bard College last year teaching and playing chamber music and organizing concerts. He has just performed an all-Liszt recital in the Congress Library in Washington DC, and his plans include concert featuring contemporary chamber music in Jordan Hall in Boston.


"As a group we have been playing music together for three years, although some of us have known one other for more than a decade. The somewhat unusual combination of instruments shows that this group wasn’t ‘put together’, instead it has developed gradually throughout the years, as we have shared most of our teachers (especially in chamber music); some of us have played together at different concerts and festivals; and all of us are founding members of Ludium Ensemble, a collective of young  musicians led by Gábor Csalog, dedicated to studying and performing György Kurtág’s works.

We played our first concert as a group in late 2009 at the Academy of Music. Since then we have given many concerts in Hungary and abroad, including a live broadcast on the Hungarian National Radio and a series of concerts in New York.

The fact that there are no compositions for the combination of our instruments (although Péter has written a piece for piano four hands, violin and cello, dedicated to us) is a kind of liberation to us. As compared to the ‚standard‘ chamber music groups, like a string quartet or a piano trio, we can perform a repertoire of a variety of instrumental combinations, including piano+string instrument pieces, string duos, piano four hands, and piano trios.

We play chamber music because it is the thing we like to do the most. Because it is the field where we had our most inspiring teachers. Because it is the type of music that requires the greatest awarness, creativity and constant presence of musicians. Because it is the genre where the majority of composers express their most intimate and deepest ideas."

Administrative Information
Nov, 2011 - May, 2015
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