Mihály Sipos violin
László Porteleki violin
Péter Éri viola, flute
Dániel Hamar bass, gardon, percussion
“Muzsikás is the best folk ensemble in Hungary today… A wealth of musical themes performed by wonderful musicians.”The Washington Post
Thirty-five years into its career, Muzsikás remains the most-recognised Hungarian folk ensemble in its own country, as well as around the world. The ensemble boasts a wealth of musical experience, and has received the prestigious WOMEX award in the world music category in 2008. It is Muzsikás and its music that has revived the forgotten traditions of old Hungarian villages. In its works, the ensemble refers to traditional themes from Hungarian folk melodies, interpreting them in a manner appropriate for folk musicians. We are dealing with true Hungarian folklore, the most beautiful melodies that Béla Bartók has placed at par with the greatest works of classical music. The members of the ensemble play and improvise in a manner reminiscent of old traditional folk groups – a solo violin playing the melody is traditionally accompanied by a 3-string viola and double bass. The musicians of Muzsikás also play many other instruments, creating an exceptionally rich palette of sounds.
Considered pioneers in the promotion of Hungarian folk music, the ensemble is also at home in other genres, including folk music, world music and jazz. Muzsikás is the first folk music ensemble to have achieved recognition in the world of classical music. During performances it combines folk and classical music with works by Kodály, Kurtág and Ligeti. This eclecticism has allowed the ensemble to perform in concert halls in Europe, North America, Asia and Australia. It has been invited to numerous festivals and has performed at the world’s major concert halls, such as London’s Royal Festival Hall and Queen Elisabeth Hall, Cité de la Musique in Paris and Carnegie Hall in New York. Muzsikás Works together with many artists, including Alexander Balanescu, Roel Dieltiens, Jeno Jando, Mihaly Dresch, as well as the Keller Quartet and Bartok Quartet. The musicians have also performed with famous orchestras, including the London Sinfonietta.
Muzsikás has received the Kossuth award for its musical achievements – a distinction awarded to renowned Hungarian artists. It has also received the Prima Primissima Award. The ensemble boasts an extensive discography and the DVD Allegro Barbaro was released to universal acclaim in 2008.
This year the musicians have been invited to the Royal Festival Hall as part of a series of concerts titled “Infernal Dance”, organised by the London Philharmonic Orchestra and devoted to the great composer Béla Bartók.