Photo: Zsófi Raffay
Born in 1957 in northern Hungary, guitarist/composer Ferenc Snétberger was the youngest son of a family of musicians. Early on his father, a guitar player also, became his role model. Snétberger studied classical music and jazz guitar. Today he is best known for his art of improvising and his crossing of stylistic borders. His music is inspired by the Roma tradition of his home country, Brazilian music and flamenco as well as classical guitar playing and jazz. He made numerous albums as a leader, co-leader and sideman and has toured all over Europe as well as Japan, Korea, India and the United States.
In 1995 he composed his Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra, “In Memory of My People”, on the occasion the fiftieth year following the end of the holocaust. Inspired by melodies of the gypsy tradition, the concerto is a powerful statement against human suffering. It has been performed by the composer himself with chamber orchestras in Hungary, Italy and Germany and also at the New York UN headquarters (International Holocaust Memorial Day, 2007).
Ferenc Snétberger performed Luciano Berios Sequenza XI (for solo guitar) as well as concertos with orchestra by Vivaldi, Rodrigo, and John McLaughlin. He also wrote music for film and theater. In 2002 Snétberger was appointed freeman of his birth town and 2010 of Budapest and two years later received the Hungarian Order of Merit. In 2005 he was awarded the Liszt Ferenc Prize in Budapest, 2013 the Prima Díj 2014 the Kossuth Díj, 2015 the Hazzám Díj , 2018 he got the JTI Trier Jazz Award and 2019 the Hungarian Heritage Award.
In 2004 Snétberger founded his new trio with legendary Norwegian bass player Arild Andersen and Norway-based Italian drummer/percussionist Paolo Vinaccia. With natural ease and on the highest level the three of them bring together choice compositions, technical skills, improvisational drive and musical fantasy. Released in fall 2005, their debut album “Nomad” was greeted with enthusiasm by critics and listeners.
Snétbergers cooperation with Markus Stockhausen started in 1999 with “Landscapes”, a duo suite recorded for Snétbergers album “For My People”. In three movements the musicians immediately create a language of their own showing their talents in an amazing way. “They come along lightly and yet filled with melancholy – and they give the impression that one day they simply had to meet in order to make this music happen. You cant help but hope this cooperation will be continued soon,” Ralf v.d. Kellen wrote in Intro magazine. Eight years later during which Snétberger and Stockhausen have further been stimulating each other artistically, their duo album “Streams” finally proves their development.
In 2011, Snétberger founded the Snétberger Musical Talent Center (www.snetbergercenter.org), for the musical education of children from disadvantaged backgrounds.
2016 was the release of Snétbergers last solo album In Concert and one year later the new Trio album Titok with Anders Jormin (S) on bass and drummer Joey Baron (USA), both at the prestigious label ecm records. The release of the next project , Snétberger & Keller Quartet is scheduled this year.