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Csaba Erdelyi

CSABA ERDELYI (10th year) (Viola, Chamber), born in Hungary, made musical history when, in 1972, he won the prestigious London Carl Flesch Violin Competition with the viola – the first, and so far, the only time. LionelTertis, who was present at the finals, called Erdélyi “a great ambassador for the viola and for his country.” The Flesch Prize launched Erdélyi’s international career. He was invited by Joseph Szigeti and Rudolph Serkin to the Marlboro Festival (USA) where he also worked with Pablo Casals. A viola student of Pál Lukács and subsequently Yehudi Menuhin and Bruno Giuranna, Erdélyibecame Menuhin’s partner in concertos and chamber music, playing together in several countries.Menuhin wrote to Benjamin Britten: “Erdélyi is an invaluable link between the two great musical cultures of Eastern and Western Europe.” Erdélyi has performed in concerts and recordings with such world-renowned soloists as Rachel Barton, Joshua Bell, Maurice Gendron, Franco Gulli, Ian Hobson, Yo-Yo Ma, George Malcolm, Jessye Norman, András Schiff, Sándor Végh, among others. He was the viola soloist in the film score ofAmadeus, with Sir Neville Marrriner conducting the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields. As a soloist, he has recorded for Concordance, Decca, Hungaroton, Lyrita, Nimbus and Philips records. He played viola concertos with the leading British orchestras in the Royal Festival Hall and on the BBC Promenade Concerts, as well as major international music festivals with Sir Colin Davis, Sir Andrew Davis, Sir Charles McKerras, Riccardo Muti, Kurt Sanderling conducting. Erdélyi was principal viola of the Philharmonia Orchestra of London from 1974 to 1978. He was guest principal violist of the BBC Symphony, invited by Gennady Rozhdestvensky. In 1980 Sir Georg Solti invited Erdélyi to the principal viola post in the Chicago Symphony. He declined in order to embark on a new career as the violist of the London-based Chilingirian Quartet, as well as professor of viola at the Guildhall School of Music (1980-1987). As guest violist, he performed with the Pauk-Frankl-Kirshbaum Trio, Fine Arts Quartet, Kocian Quartet, Végh Quartet, Cuarteto Latinoamericano. Professor Erdélyi has a reputation as an extremely dedicated and caring pedagogue, who attracts fine students from all over the world.


As Professor of Viola and Chamber Music he taught at Indiana University, Rice University, Butler University, and Bowling Green State University. He has held master classes in major conservatories on all five continents. Professor Erdélyi’s former students can be found in prestigious positions in music performance and education all over the world. For over 20 years Professor Erdélyi has researched the original manuscript of the Bartók Viola Concerto, the composer’s last masterpiece, which was left in its first draft. With the help of world-renowned Bartók scholar, Elliott Antokoletz and composers Péter Eötvös and György Kurtág he restored and orchestrated the work in the purest and most authentic manner. Former violist of the Kolisch-quartet, Eugene Lehner, friend of Bartók, praised Erdélyi’s score and recording as “an invaluable service to Bartók and all violists.” Score and parts are published by Promethean Editions ( and a CD was recorded in 2001 with Erdélyi and the New ZealandSymphony Orchestra with conductor Marc Taddei on Concordance label (, which continues to receive worldwide professional acclaim. In September 2017, Bartók Viola Concerto – Restoration and Orchestration by Csaba Erdélyi, Revised Version 2016 received its European Premiere by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra in Berlin Philharmonic Hall. The orchestra’s Music Director, Sir Simon Rattle wrote: “I am in total agreement with the opinions of György Kurtág and Pierre Boulez that Erdélyi’s score is the most faithful realization of Bartók’s last masterpiece that was left in draft.” Csaba Erdélyi considers himself a world citizen and holds citizenships in his native Hungary, Great Britain and the United States. He serves as principal viola of both the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra and Sinfonia da Camera at the University of Illinois. His favorite instrument is a magnificent viola made for him by master luthier Joseph Curtin in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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