Sunday, May 31, 2015

Gyorgy Garay

Gyorgy Garay was a Hungarian violinist, teacher, and music editor born (in Rakospalota) on December 2, 1909.  He is now a very obscure violinist who was well-known in his day.  His first teacher was Joseph Bloch at the Budapest Academy of Music.  Garay was 9 years old when he started his studies.  Three years later, he was a student of Oscar Studer.  In 1925, he began studying with Jeno Hubay and graduated a year later.  Interestingly, his public debut took place in Vienna (1926.)  He made his debut in Hungary (Budapest) in 1927.  Garay soon gravitated toward a career in chamber music, playing violin in the Hungarian Trio from 1927 to 1930.  Between 1930 and 1933, he was first violinist with the Garay Quartet.  In the 1930s, he developed a second career as a soloist in Europe.  Between 1940 and 1945, he was a violinist with the Fovarosi Orchestra in Budapest.  He became principal violinist at the Hungarian State Opera House in 1945 and stayed until 1951.  From 1951 to 1960, he was concertmaster of the National Philharmonic (State Concert Orchestra) – this orchestra may or may not be the same orchestra which exiled itself (to Germany) in 1956 and became the Philharmonia Hungarica.  From 1949 to 1961, Garay was also a violin teacher at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest.  In 1960, he became concertmaster of the Radio Symphony in Leipzig (MDR Symphony Orchestra.)  While there, he also taught at the Mendelssohn Academy of Music.  Henceforth, he performed less and less as a soloist.  He gave many premiere performances of new works (mostly by Hungarian composers) and recorded some of these works as well.  Here is one of several of his audio files on YouTube - the violin concerto (1973) by Wilhelm Neef.  Garay died (in Leipzig) on May 15, 1988, at age 78.  His violin was a Stradivarius of 1733 – as far as I know, it bears no name.  

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