Photos © Peter Herman
Hungarian pianist István Lajkó is a fine performer of both solo and chamber music repertoire, an outstanding musician combined with a fascinating personality. His play has been praised in the New Musical Journal of the Hungarian Radio as ”a name to be noted”.
István Lajkó was born on 14 January 1982 in Budapest. After completing a preparatory course in music, he started to play the piano at the age of eight. Between 1993 and 1995 he played 20th century piano pieces in concerts organized by the Margit Varró Foundation, later they published the concert recordings on video titled Hungarian Music in Piano Pedagogy 1900-2000. In 1996 he continued his piano studies in the St. Stephen Conservatory of Music, where he studied with Erzsébet Belák. In 2000 he won First Prize at the Millennium Music Competition at the Conservatory and Grand Prize at the Music Competition of Hungaroton Records Ltd (a CD of the prizewinners is available). In 2001 he was admitted to the Franz Liszt Academy of Music Budapest, he graduated with Honors/Distinction in 2007 under Sándor Falvai and Balázs Szokolay. He attended the DMA course at the same institution, where he studied with Rita Wagner and earned his doctorate title with summa cum laude honors in 2014. In 2010 he spent 3 months with Erasmus Scholarship at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hannover, where he studied with Prof. Matti Raekallio. With the support of the KLASSZ Talents Program he continued his studies with Prof. Raekallio in New York, at the Juilliard School of Music. Currently he is pursuing his Concert Diplom in the class of Prof. Szokolay at the Hochschule für Musik Franz Liszt Weimar, where he was also assistant of his professor. He is also member of the faculty at the Liszt Academy of Music Budapest.
István Lajkó has won a number of prestigious prizes home and abroad: He won the Béla Bartók Prize in the competition of the International Summer Music Academy of Baden, he is also winner of the Yamaha scholarship. He won First Prize in the Andor Földes Piano Competition, First Prize and Composition Prize in the Carl Filtsch International Piano Competition in Sibiu and First Prize in the Leó Weiner Chamber Music Competition. He won prizes in the First International Piano Competition in memory of Franz Liszt in Pécs, and in the International Liszt-Bartók Piano Competition in Budapest. In Pécs, he won also the De Profundis Special Prize for the interpretation of Liszt’s rarely played concerto with the same title. He performed Liszt’s De Profundis in Pécs for the first time. In 2009 he received the Special Prize of the Jury in the EU International Piano Competition in Prague, and recently he won the Grand Prize, the First Prize and two Special Prizes in the International Liszt-Bartók-Ligeti Competition in Sofia. In 2010 he was honored with the prestigious Junior Prima Prize. He was recipient of the Scholarship of the Hungarian Republic for two consecutive years (2005, 2006), winner of the Annie Fischer Scholarship of the Philharmonia Budapest for three consecutive years (2008-2010) and in 2013 he was awarded with DAAD-scholarship in Germany.
He took part in several master courses of prominent professors, among others Klára Körmendi, István Gulyás, István Lantos, Jenő Jandó, György Nádor, Márta Gulyás, Marián Lapšanský, Norma Fisher, Péter Frankl, Ferenc Rados, Dmitri Bashkirov, Mikhail Voskresensky, Leonid Margarius, Anne Queffélec, Edith Fischer, Willem Brons, Jan Marisse Huizing, Andrzej Jasiński, Matti Raekallio, Murray Perahia, Paul Badura-Skoda, Arie Vardi.
István Lajkó has performed in Austria, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Romania, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, Russia, China and the United States and several cities in Hungary. He also appeared as soloist with several leading Hungarian orchestras, such as the MÁV Symphony Orchestra, the Pannon Philharmonic Orchestra, Budapest Symphony Orchestra, Savaria Symphony Orchestra, Miskolc Symphony Orchestra, the Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra and the Concerto Budapest. In 2007 he gave solo recitals during the Hummel Festival in Bratislava and the Liszt Festival in Sopron, in 2008 during the Musicathlon Festival in Beijing, in 2009 and 2012 during the Budapest Spring Festival, in 2011 during the Janáček’s May Festival in Ostrava and in 2014 during the Chopin Festival in Prishtina. In 2008 and in 2010 he was selected for the concert series New Masters on Tour, in 2010 he made his debut in the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, in the Rudolfinum in Prague, in Dr. Anton Philipszaal in The Hague, and in the Rachmaninoff Hall in Moscow. In 2011 István Lajkó gave recitals in Konserthus Oslo, Teatro La Fenice Venice and Teatro Verdi Trieste in honor of Liszt 200th birthday, furthermore, he performed Liszt’s First piano concerto with the Serbian Youth Orchestra conducted by Ingrun Fussenegger, and Dohnányi’s Variations on a nursery song with the EUphonia Central European Youth Orchestra conducted by Zoltán Kocsis.
In 2014 István Lajkó gave the world premiere performance of Liszt’s Faust Symphony in the piano solo transcription of Carl Tausig, which had enormous success. He regularly plays recitals in Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and performs chamber music concerts with members of the Budapest Festival Orchestra. István Lajkó recently premiered in Germany Torsten Herrmann's Levitron for piano and orchestra, and presented in one concert Prokofiev’s complete works for violin and piano with the Russian violinist Andrey Baranov. His future engagements include recitals in Germany and the Netherlands, chamber music concerts with cellists Harriet Krijgh (Academy of Music Budapest) and Ildikó Szabó (Konzerthaus Berlin), concerto performances of works by Dohnányi and Mendelssohn.
In the beginning of February 2017 his new CD, a world premiere recording of Liszt’s Faust Symphony in the piano solo transcription of Carl Tausig was internationally released under the label Hungaroton.
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