Sofia Gubaidulina, composer

Sofia Gubaidulina, composer
Sofia Gubaidulina

Friday, November 11, 2016

Zoltán Kocsis (1952-2016) – In Memoriam

Zoltán Kocsis
(May 30, 1952 - November 6, 2016 • 30 Μαΐου 1952 - 6 Νοεμβρίου 2016)

In Memoriam

Zoltán Kocsis, a pianist and conductor who revamped the Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra and was internationally known for his incandescent renditions of Schubert, Beethoven and other composers, died on Sunday, November 6, 2016, at his home in Budapest. He was 64.

Geza Kovacs, the Philharmonic's general director, said the cause was metastatic cancer.

A musical prodigy almost from the time he could walk, Zoltán Kocsis was known for deftly playing a vast repertoire. He was widely regarded as one of the foremost interpreters of the intricate music of his countryman Béla Bartók, and played with orchestras in New York, Berlin, Chicago, London, San Francisco and elsewhere.

"Zoltán Kocsis at the 92nd Street Y on Wednesday night seemed to be two personalities sharing the same pair of hands", The New York Times critic Bernard Holland wrote in 2001. "This Hungarian pianist has that rare ear for the phrase as a whole: the talent to see from the beginning of a line to its end and to exploit the tension points along the way."

He was also known for the volume and intensity of his playing. "The applause was loud", Mr. Holland wrote, "but hardly competitive with the decibel levels emanating from the stage".

Zoltán Kocsis began conducting regularly in his 30s, and in 1983 he founded the Budapest Festival Orchestra with Ivan Fischer. Zoltán Kocsis was the orchestra's piano soloist and co-artistic musical director for the next decade.

He conducted and played ambitious, varied programs, but told The Independent of London that he worried that musical quality often suffered from pressure to perform and record new material before musicians had mastered it.

"People today haven't enough time to play instruments themselves", he said in 1995. "They've become indiscriminate consumers  it's rather like being unable to tell the difference between Coca-Cola and a good Bordeaux."

He became the Hungarian National Philharmonic's music director in 1997.

"This was considered to be a second-rate orchestra and probably was, if we are talking about quality, until I made radical changes", Zoltán Kocsis told The Worcester Telegram & Gazette in Massachusetts in 2003.

Zoltán Kocsis weeded out musicians who did not meet his standards through a series of intense auditions, and in time the orchestra became one of Hungary's pre-eminent ensembles.

He remained active even after he was found to have heart disease in 2012, working on a series of Bartok recordings and conducting virtuosos like the pianist Yuja Wang, who described him as "my idol" at a performance in Budapest in June and mourned him on Facebook.

Zoltán Kocsis (pronounced KO-cheesh) was born in Budapest on May 30, 1952. He was playing the piano by the time he was 3 and began seriously studying music at 5.

After attending the Bela Bartok Conservatory, he graduated from the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music in Budapest.

At 18 he won the Hungarian Radio Beethoven Competition, and at 25 he won the Kossuth Prize, awarded by Hungary's government for outstanding contributions to Hungarian science or culture. His recording of Debussy's "Images" won a Gramophone Award in 1990, and in 2005 he once again received the Kossuth Prize.

His marriage to the pianist Adrienne Hauser ended in divorce. He is survived by his wife, the pianist Erika Toth; a son, Mark, and daughter, Rita Kocsis, from his first marriage; and a son, the pianist Krisztian Kocsis, and daughter, Viktoria Kocsis, from his second marriage.

Source: Daniel E. Slotnik, 9/11/2016 (

Zoltán Kocsis in 2003
Σε ηλικία 64 ετών έφυγε από τη ζωή, την Κυριακή 6 Νοεμβρίου 2016, ο Ούγγρος βιρτουόζος πιανίστας και διευθυντής ορχήστρας, Zoltán Kocsis, όπως ανακοίνωσε η Εθνική Φιλαρμονική της Ουγγαρίας στο πρακτορείο ειδήσεων MTI.

«Η Εθνική Φιλαρμονική ανακοινώνει με βαθιά λύπη το θάνατο του Zoltán Kocsis το απόγευμα, έπειτα από μακρά ασθένεια που αντιμετώπισε με αξιοπρέπεια», αναφέρεται στην ανακοίνωση.

Ο Kocsis, διευθυντής της Εθνικής Φιλαρμονικής από το 1997, υποβλήθηκε σε εγχείρηση καρδιάς το 2012. Τον περασμένο μήνα ματαίωσε όλες τις συναυλίες του έπειτα από συμβουλή των γιατρών του.

Γεννημένος στη Βουδαπέστη το 1952, άρχισε διεθνή καριέρα μετά τη βράβευσή του με το Βραβείο Μπετόβεν της ουγγρικής ραδιοφωνίας μόλις στα 18 του χρόνια.

Γνωστός για τη στενή του σχέση με τη σύγχρονη μουσική, ο παθιασμένος αυτός μουσικός με τα γαλάζια μάτια και τα πλούσια άσπρα μαλλιά είχε διακριθεί για την εντυπωσιακή τεχνική του στο πιάνο. Είχε στενή συνεργασία με τη Φιλαρμονική του Βερολίνου και άλλες μεγάλες ορχήστρες σε ολόκληρο τον κόσμο.

Πηγή:, 6/11/2016

Zoltán Kocsis in 1972 (Photo by Kresz Albert)

See also

Claude Debussy: Suite bergamasque, Pour le piano, Estampes, Images (oubliées) – Zoltán Kocsis (Audio video)

Claude Debussy: Images, D'un cahier d'esquisses, L'Isle joyeuse, Deux arabesques, etc. – Zoltán Kocsis (Audio video)

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