Sunday, February 18, 2018

Joseph Lendvay

Joseph Lendvay (Jozsef Lendvay) is a Hungarian violinist and conductor born (in Budapest) on November 7, 1974.  He is best known as a crossover violinist who is very successful as a traditional classical violinist and a gypsy fiddler.  He often performs with his own gypsy band – a group of five or six players – two violins, cello, cembalom, bass, and guitar.  He (probably) began his violin studies with his father, a very popular gypsy violinist.  By age 14, he was already playing some of the most difficult standard works for classical violin.  He studied at the Bela Bartok Conservatory in Budapest as well as the famous Franz Liszt Academy, also in Budapest.  He has won numerous European-based violin competitions; the Koln International Violin Competition and the Tibor Varga International Violin Competition are among them.  In 2002, the President of the Hungarian Republic awarded him the Golden Cross for his artistic contributions to the nation.  He was 28 years old.  It has been said that due to his classical training, his folkloric interpretations sound lighter and more virtuosic and, because of his folkloric roots, his classical performances are more emotional and powerful.  Lendvay was concertmaster of an orchestra called the Philharmonic of Nations (founded by pianist and conductor Justus Frantz in 1995) for a time.  Lendvay has been playing the Ries Stradivarius from 1691 (or 1693 - opinions vary on the date) since 2008. There is another Ries Stradivarius dated 1710 but I don't know who owns or plays that one.  Here is a YouTube video of Lendvay and Vadim Repin playing Csardas.  Here is another where he is playing Gypsy Airs by Sarasate – the harmonies have been altered in several places and the accompaniment includes some traditional folk instruments.  You may likely want to watch it more than once in order to appreciate some of the unusual bowings and fingerings which Lendvay uses.  Finally, here is one where Lendvay plays the Tchaikovsky concerto.