Lakatos is a rare musician who defies definition. He is referred to as a gypsy violinist or “devil’s fiddler,” a classical virtuoso, a jazz improviser, a composer and arranger, and a 19th-century throwback. He is actually all of these things at once. He is the kind of universal musician so rarely encountered in our time—a player whose strength as an interpreter derives from his activities as an improviser and composer.
Born into the legendary family of gypsy violinists descended from Janos Bihari “King of Gypsy Violinists,”
He has collaborated with Vadim Repin and Stéphane Grappelli, and his playing was greatly admired by Sir Yehudi Menuhin, who always made a point of visiting the club in Brussels to hear Lakatos. In 2004, Lakatos appeared to great acclaim with the London Symphony Orchestra in the orchestra’s “Genius of the Violin” festival alongside Maxim Vengerov. Since that time, he has performed at the great halls and festivals of Europe, Asia and America.
When Lakatos mixes so-called “classical music” with the magic of the Hungarian-gypsy vitality, it reflects the deep tradition rooted in the cultural heritage of the Gypsy people and offers new, refreshing pleasures to the listener and music lover. And, just as Liszt, Brahms and others used the Hungarian overtones in their compositions, so now the public profits from the confrontation of these classics with the gypsy roots. This enlivens all those men and women in whose veins still pulses at least a little bit of the blood of the wandering spirit.
Roby Lakatos Ensemble
Lászlo Bóni (second violin) was born in Budapest and studied with Roby Lakatos's father, playing in his orchestra and earning a soloist's diploma as a Gypsy violinist in 1987. He then spent six months in Japan, performing with a Gypsy trio that subsequently toured the whole of Europe. He worked in Antwerp from 1991 to 1994.
Jeno Lisztes (cimbalom) was born in Budapest and was just four-years-old when he started studying the classical cimbalom with Agnes Székely. Lisztes then studied classical and Gypsy music with Jenö Soros. Lisztes was still 12 when he won the Racz Aladar Cimbalom Competition. He has been studying at the Franz Liszt Music Academy in Budapest since 2005.
Laszlo Balogh (guitar) was born in Budapest. He started studying music at age six with Agnes Székely of the Toth Aladar Academy. His first instrument was the cimbalom, but he switched to the guitar when he was 12. He went on to study at the Franz Liszt Music Academy after which he became an ‘apprentice’
Làszlo ‘Csorosz’ Lisztes (double bass) originally started his musical studies in violin and, at the age of nine, made the switch to double bass and entered the Toth Aladar Academy. His teacher at the time was Lajos Duduj. He later moved to the Béla Bartók Academy, where he studied under Istvàn Lukàcshàzi. At present, he is taking courses at the Pécs Conservatory as a postgraduate student.
Frantisek Jánoška (piano) was born in Bratislava. He studied with Peter Cerman and Juraj Tandler at the State Conservatorium in Bratislava. He won the International Franz Liszt Piano Competition in Hungary in 2002 and the 2006 Concours Martial Solal. He is currently studying with Roland Keller at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna.
Praise for Roby Lakatos
"But when Roby Lakatos spun out his first cadenza, the earth stood still. His band are Gypsies like him, and each can carry an evening. Lakatos left us with birdsong in our ears." – The Independent (UK)
"Did you ever see a band that was so ridiculously cool that you really wanted to know what bar they were going to after the show? That you just assumed takes a mobile music party with them everywhere they go, onstage or off? Roby Lakatos and his Gypsy band are just such an ensemble." – Jim Morekis, Connect Savannah
"Lakatos's jaw-dropping technique encompassed intricate double-handed pizzicati and exquisite, fluttering harmonics up and down the violin's neck. But he could also make his instrument sing with tenderness, as he did on Legrand's 'Papa Can You Hear Me?' and Piazzolla's 'Chiquilin de Bachin.'" – Jessica Nicholas, The Age (Australia)
"Virtuoso is an overused term these days but in Roby Lakatos's case, it may even be an understatement.... Terrific stuff from a band that makes playing exceptional music seem as natural as breathing." – Rob Adams, Glasgow Herald (Scotland)
"While the standard of musicianship across the stage was astounding (Lakatos sat out one entire song), it was the 'King of the Gypsy Violin' who had the audience stamping their feet during the performance. Pizzicato on a violin sometimes might seem like a minor variation on bowing, but Lakatos' ability here almost makes the violin sound like a new instrument. The crowd at the Concert Hall knew they were listening to something very special and three rampant encores were nowhere near enough." – Felicity Meakins, MC Reviews
Tickets: Remaining tickets for these performances currently start at $15. Tickets are on sale now at www.coloradosymphony.org, the Colorado Symphony Box Office: (303) 623-7876 or (877) 292-7979 or in-person in the lobby of Boettcher Concert Hall in the Denver Performing Arts Complex. Hours are Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Scott O'Neil, resident conductor
Roby Lakatos, violin
Roby Lakatos Ensemble
7:30 p.m. Friday, October 28
Remaining tickets for this one-night-only performance currently start at $15.
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The state’s only full-time professional orchestra, the Colorado Symphony embraces a tradition of musical excellence by presenting a diverse array of symphonic performances throughout the year. The Colorado Symphony performs in Boettcher Concert Hall and throughout the Front Range, presenting outstanding education and outreach programs, as well as Masterworks, Pops, Holiday, Family, and the exciting new Inside the Score and Symphony on the Rocks series that have attracted a historic level of first-time concertgoers. By presenting music that is both timeless and inspiring, the Colorado Symphony is attracting more diverse and younger audiences than ever before. The increasing popularity of Colorado Symphony concerts not only re-affirms the artistic excellence of the orchestra, but also reflects the Symphony’s relevance to its Colorado community and deep-rooted enthusiasm for symphonic music felt by so many individuals across the region.