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Classiscsonline Home » Composers » E » Erdelyi, Csaba

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Csaba Erdelyi (b1946)

As the only player ever to have won the Carl Flesch Violin Competition playing the viola, Csaba Erdélyi received the highest praise from none other than Lionel Tertis, who heard him perform in the 1972 finals and called him ‘a great ambassador for the viola and for his country’. Even this long after the emergence of pioneers like Nedbal, Tertis, Trampler, Riddle and Primrose, the viola was still evidently struggling to be universally accepted as a solo instrument: when the Flesch prize was awarded to a violist, some organisations withdrew their promises of concert appearances for the winner. Nonetheless, this was an amazing achievement for Erdélyi, whose violin teachers at the Franz Liszt Academy had considered him most unpromising and instructed him to change to viola; even then he was a reluctant student, only flourishing at the very end of his time at the Academy. Important opportunities now ensued for Erdélyi including an invitation from Szigeti and Serkin to play at the Marlboro Festival, a performance of the Walton Viola Concerto for the BBC and involvement in Menuhin’s Gstaad Festival. Erdélyi’s international career was thus born and since then he has worked with countless major figures and ensembles across the world including, notably, as violist of the Chilingirian Quartet—a position which he chose over an offer from Solti to join the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as principal.




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