Róbert Farkas, Chief Conductor

I am delighted to welcome the audience of the MÁV Symphony Orchestra!

It has always been a great pleasure to conduct this outstanding orchestra and it is an honour to be its principal conductor for the second year. With the upcoming concert season, we pay tribute to Vienna's history as a melting pot of diversity, and to the great composers associated with the city. Vienna's cultural life has been enriched by composers of the most diverse origins: Mozart, born in Salzburg, Beethoven, born in Bonn, Brahms, born in Hamburg, Mahler, with Czech and Austrian roots, Richard Strauss, born in Bavaria, Schoenberg, with a Czech mother and a Hungarian father, and our own Franz Liszt, born in Hungary. The list goes on with this season's performers, including Elisabeth Leonskaja from Georgia and István Várdai from Pécs, both of whom call the Austrian capital their second home.

Naturally, we cannot leave out Schubert, an excellent model of the Viennese spirit, whose achingly beautiful and melancholic works include the grand Symphony No. 9 and Symphony No. 4, which he wrote at the age of 19. The latter is also known as the „Tragic” Symphony, in which the influence of three great figures of the Viennese Classicism can be noticed: the influence of Haydn and the 'Sturm und Drang' movement of the Enlightenment in the introduction, of Beethoven at the beginning of the Allegro and of Mozart in the Lento movement.

The programme includes a violin concerto by another Viennese composer, Alban Berg, written in memory of an angel (Manon Gropius, the daughter of Alma Mahler from his second marriage, who died young). Brahms and Tchaikovsky must be part of this ’Viennese season’, since the Zum Roten Igel, a favourite restaurant of many of the city’s musicians, commemorates the only meeting between the two composers. Budapest did not fall behind Vienna, as it was a significant event of the era that while the most renowned conductors conducted foreign works at the Opera House, Franz Liszt established the center of Hungarian music, the Franz Liszt Academy of Music. To honour this significant event in Hungarian musical culture, we are paying tribute with works by Dubrovay and Eötvös, as well as the premiere of a piece by Tímea Dragony.

Let music draw us closer in the 2022/23 season! Join us, we look forward to welcoming you at our concerts!

Kesselyák Gergely, Conductor

He was born in Budapest in 1971. He graduated from Piarist Secondary Schoolof Budapest in 1989 and obtained his degree in conducting at Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music as a student of Ervin Lukács in 1995. During his years as an undergraduate he took part in Yuri Simonovs Master classes twice. He won third price at the Arturo Toscanini International Conducting Competition in Parma (1994) and at the Hungarian Television International Conductors Competition in Budapest (1995).
Since 1993 he has regularly conducted the leading symphony orchestras in Hungary: the National Philharmonic Orchestra, the Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra the Symphony Orchestra of the Hungarian Radio and Television, the Matáv Symphony Orchestra and the MÁV Symphony Orchestra. Between 1995 and 1997 he was the the leader of the Hungarian Youth Radio Orchestra. In 1997 he founded the opera division of the Miskolc National Theatre and was its music director until 2002. In 2001 he was the founder music director of the Bartók+ International Opera Festival, a position he held for three years. From 1997 he was guest conductor, from 2001 conductor-in-residence of the Hungarian State Opera. In 2004 he was appointed artistic director of the BudaFest Summer Opera and Ballet Festival where he worked for four years. From 2005 to 2012 he was artistic director of the Szeged Open-Air Festival. Between 2005 and 2006 he held the position of music director at the Hungarian State Opera. Since 1993 he has conducted more than one hundred performances in ten different music theatres (Hungarian State Opera House, Budapest Operetta and Musical Theatre, Hungarian Opera of Cluj-Napoca, National Theatre of Szeged, National Theatre of Miskolc, Csokonai National Theatre in Debrecen, Szigliget Theatre in Szolnok, Petőfi Theatre in Veszprém, National Theatre of Győr, National Theatre of Pécs)
Since 2011 he has been Director of the Bartók+ Opera Festival. In 2013 he founded the Bartók+ Opera Composition Competition. Since 2016 he has been principal conductor of the Hungarian State Opera. He has worked as a guest conductor in several countries
(Ukraine, Romania, Austria, Italy, France, Spain, Egypt, Japan, Chile, Peru, Oman, China). Since 1999 he has been active as a stage director, as well, and has staged Verdi's Rigoletto, Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore, Bartók's Duke Bluebeard's Castle, Puccini's Turandot; Tosca and Verdi's Nabucco. The production of Don Giovanni directed by him ran for 8 years at the Hungarian State Opera House. In 2005 he was awarded the Liszt Prize. In 2012 he became a Meritorious Artist.
Gergely Kesselyák has been the conductor of the MÁV Symphony Orchestra since September 2010.

Kobayashi Ken-Ichiro, Honorary Guest Conductor

Ken-Ichiro Kobayashi won the International Conductors’ Competition of the Hungarian Television (MTV) in the spring of 1974, more than 40 years ago. The MÁV Symphony Orchestra was the first orchestra that he directed outside his home country, thereby starting his international career. The Maestro has been on a roll ever since, but he still has a special connection to our orchestra. He is our returning guest, whose presence brighten every concert for our audience and is an inspiration for the members of our orchestra. He directed dozens of MÁV Symphony Orchestra concerts in our different series, on numerous occasions in Japan, thereby enhancing the reputation of our country and the founder of our orchestra
On the spring of 2014, Kobayashi celebrated the 40th anniversary of winning the MTV Conductors’ Competition with a large-scale concert series. He gave seven concerts in three weeks in Hungary, with the participation of the most famous Hungarian philharmonics. He directed our orchestra on the gala concert of the series, where the president and chief executive officer of MÁV Zrt., Ilona Dávid awarded Ken-Ichiro Kobayashi the prestigious ‘Vasútért’ prize.
The MÁV Symphony Orchestra deeply values the Master’s friendship. As a token of mutual appreciation, since the 2014-15 season, we welcome him to the podium as honorary guest conductor.

Péter CsabaPermanent Guest Conductor

He was born in 1952 in Cluj-Napoca. He started playing the violin at age five, and studied the violin, composing and conducting at the Porumbescu Conservatory of Music in Bucharest. He was successful at numerous international competitions (e.g. Paganini Competition, Genova), and regularly performed in concerts as a violinist. Several years later, he debuted as a conductor as well. Péter Csaba is a musician who travels the world; he entered the stage in more than 80 countries.
Since 1983, he lives in Lyon, France. He is the founder and conductor of the Solistes de Lyon and the Finnish Virtuosi di Kuhmo chamber orchestras, and was the artistic director of the Lapland Festival (Sweden) and the Musica Vitae. His initiative to support young musical talents started in Sweden and was further developed in Spain, in the framework of the Ecuentro de Música Y Academia Festival in Santander. By means of this endeavor, he had the opportunity to introduce himself to a great number of brilliant young musicians (including Hungarians). In recognition of his outstanding work in Sweden, he was elected to become a member of the Royal Swedish Academy. He is a professor and head of the orchestra class at the National Conservatory of Music and Dance of Lyon. Between 1994 and 2010, he was the director and permanent conductor of the Besançon Symphony Orchestra. He teaches masterclasses in several countries. He has numerous records; the one with the works of the composer Sibelius, recorded in 1994 in Finland, was chosen best classical record of the year in the US. In the past few years, he conducted the MÁV Symphony Orchestra on numerous records. He worked together with a number of contemporary composers, for example with Krzysztof Penderecki, Alfred Schnittke, Henry Dutilleux, Sofija Gubajdulina and György Kurtág, many of whom dedicated their compositions to him. He entered the podium with artists like Pierre Fournier, Natalia Gutman, Dimitrij Bashkirov, Truls Moerk, Teresa Berganza, Oleg Kagan, Christian Zimmermann, Tabea Zimmermann, James Galway, Menahem Pressler, Zoltán Kocsis, Miklós Perényi, Dezső Ránki, Jenő Jandó, Péter Frankl, Dénes Várjon, Albert Simon, Kristóf Baráti, László Fenyő and István Várdai.
Since 2012, Péter Csaba has been the artistic director and chief conductor of the MÁV Symphony Orchestra.
In 2017, he received the Legion of Honour (Knight class) from the President of the French Republic for his contribution to the French culture and music, and was awarded the Order of the White Rose of Finland for his outstanding musical and artistic activity in Finland.

Gábor Takács-Nagy Permanent Guest Conductor

He was born in 1956, and became world-famous by the string quartet associated with his name. The quartet received a scholarship to Colorado in the United State, and its members settled there. Gábor Takács-Nagy left the quartet in 1992 and moved back to Europe. Since then, he has been living in Switzerland and is a professor at the Haute école de musique Genève – Neuchâtel (Geneva HEM). Besides, he is teaching chamber music masterclasses around the world. He also returned to Hungary: Between 1992 and 2001, he regularly played in the Budapest Festival Orchestra as a guest concertmaster. From 1999, he played in his newly established string quartet, Mikrokosmos, with which they recorded all of Bartók’s string quartets for the Bartók series of the Hungaroton Record Production company.
He has been conducting since 2002, debuting in Switzerland at the Sion Festival. He became the Music Director of the Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra (Switzerland) in 2007. From 2011, he has been the chief conductor of the Manchester Camerata. In the MÁV Symphony Orchestra, he has been directing the workshops of the string musicians and the new chamber orchestra series of the ensemble since 2005. He became the first guest conductor of our orchestra in September 2008, and between September 2010 and June 2012, he was the chief conductor and music director of the MÁV Symphony Orchestra. Between 2014 and 2016, he was a guest conductor at the Budapest Festival Orchestra.
He has been the permanent guest conductor of the MÁV Symphony Orchestra since 2018.