Project Description

Photo: Péter Aczél

István Kassai


I graduated as a pianist at the Academy of Music in Budapest in 1982, where my professor was Pál Kadosa, then I earned a degree from the Conservatoire Européen de Musique in Paris with Professor Yvonne Lefébure in 1984. I participated several master classes, including one with György Cziffra, who played a key role in my artistic development.

During my career I won several 1st prizes in international competitions: in 1972 at the International Youth Piano Competition in Ušti nad Labem, Czechoslovakia, in 1979 at the Hungarian Radio National Piano Competition, and in 1982 at the International Debussy Piano Competition in Paris. I was awarded with the Artisjus Prize in 1978, the Bonnaud-Chevillion Prize of the Fondation de France in 1986, the Nivo Award of the Hungarian Radio in 1990, the Liszt Prize in 2001, and the Weiner Memorial Prize in 2010.

I made complete series of works of Ernest Bloch (2 CDs), Ferenc Erkel (2 CDs), Mihály Mosonyi (6 CDs), Leó Weiner (4 CDs) , Jenő Hubay (13 CDs , with violinist Ferenc Szecsődi) and Sándor Balassa (3 CDs). I participated in CD recordings with the works of Ernő Dohnányi, Franz Liszt, Béla Bartók, Robert Volkmann and Imre Széchényi. Hungarian Radio archive keeps many of my recordings. In my concerts, I have played many works as premieres.

Many of my musical writings were publishes in various journals and study books.  I also publish sheet music, so far I have published works by Liszt, Erkel, Mosonyi (4), Hubay, Balassa and György Cziffra. Many works are prepared for publishing by Ernest Bloch, Ferenc Erkel, Mihály Mosonyi, Imre Széchényi, Ernő Dohnányi, Jenő Hubay and Leó Weiner. I am one of the founders and board members of the Erkel Ferenc Society (1989-), the Hubay Jenő Society (1998-) and the Lajtha László Society (2000-2008). In 2012 I was elected a corresponding member of the Hungarian Academy of Arts, and in 2013 I became a full member.

My artistic career is focusing on recordings. My mission was to help the wide audience to discover the unexplored values ​​of romanticism and the Hungarian music of the turn-of-the-century. As long as I can, I will do my best to achieve these goals.