The Hungarian Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra was founded in 1963 by former students of the Franz Liszt Music Academy in Budapest. The first artistic director of the ensemble was Frigyes Sándor, a renowned professor of the Academy. After his death it was János Rolla, the excellent violinist, who took over the leadership in 1979 as the artistic director. During this nearly half of a century the orchestra have built up an exceptional international reputation which has been underlined by concerts in more than 50 countries, including the Carnegie Hall in New York, the Sydney Opera House, the Suntory Hall in Tokyo, the Théâtre de la Ville in Paris, and the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. Their huge repertoire consists of baroque, classical, romantic and modern pieces as well. They have made more than 200 discs, and played with soloists like Sviatoslav Richter, Yehudi Menuhin, Jean-Pierre Rampal, Isaac Stern, Mstislav Rostropovich, Vadim Repin and Zoltán Kocsis to name a few. The orchestra consists of 16 strings, occasionally accompanied by a harpsichord soloist, winds or other instruments. As true representatives of their country in the international classical music life they have always tried to make the famous Hungarian string traditions even more popular all over the world.
The rich history of nearly fifty years has brought not only extraordinary success, but also new challenges. The orchestra has continuously been seeking new types of co productions with excellent artists from other areas. They played in the theatrical performance of Amadeus, worked with the Ballet of Győr, the Budapest Klezmer Band, the famous jazz band of Roby Lakatos, and played with Ferenc Snétberger guitar player, too. Performing classical music in the traditional way, however, has always remained the main profile of the group, and productions with Emmanuel Pahud, Vadim Gluzman, Denis Matsuev, Maurice André, Efim Bronfman, Gustav Rivinius, Markus Stockhausen, Gábor Boldoczki, Andrea Rost or Steven Ysserlis proved to be memorable moments of the past few years. Invitations to concerts and festivals all over the world, including Japan, the United States, South America, India, and numerous European countries showed continued interest in high level artistic performances. The composition of the original ensemble also went through substantial changes: in place of the “founding fathers” new talented musicians arrived, and joined the group. The presence of János Rolla as an artistic director, however, is ensuring the highest possible standards, and connecting the past with the future.
János Rolla began playing the violin at the age of 5. He graduated from the Franz Liszt Music Academy of Budapest in 1969, where he was taught by the famous violinist, Dénes Kovács. Though he became famous in the world’s prestigious concert halls primarily as a chamber musician, he is also an excellent soloist. As leader and founding member of the Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra he has been the artistic director since 1979. In appreciation for his work in spreading Hungarian musical culture both at home and abroad he was awarded the “Kossuth Prize” in 1985, the highest cultural distinction in Hungary. In 1992 he became “Chevalier de la Culture” in France; in 1994 he was given the „Cross of Order of the Hungarian Republic” by the President; and since August 2004 he possesses the „Cross of Order with a Star of the Hungarian Republic”. He is the founder of the Zemplén Art Festival, and, as recognition of his efforts, he was elected honorary citizen of Sárospatak in 1996. Since 2008 he has been the head of the Chamber Music Department of the Franz Liszt Music Academy of Budapest. During his career he always followed the aim to progress the famous Hungarian string traditions all over the world. His work and enthusiasm were praised in numerous personal confessions of soloists with whom he, and the orchestra, played together during the years.
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