Project Description

Photo: László Emmer

János Balázs


János Balázs, one of the most successful and acclaimed pianists in the Hungarian classical music scene, is renowned for his performances in the world’s most prestigious concert venues. In the last few years he won public acclaim with his successful concerts in the Tchaikovsky Conservatory (Moscow), the Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), the Barbican (London), the Cologne Philharmonie, the Konzerthaus (Vienna), the Bozar (Brussels), and the Palau de Musica (Barcelona).

His passion for the piano, his drive to see beyond the definitions of music genres, and his talent for improvisation has helped build a stellar reputation around Balázs and his inspiring concerts. Balázs’s inspiration is coming from two legendary musical artists: Ferenc Liszt, and Georges Cziffra, both well-renowned pianists of supernatural ability.

In 2019, at the age of 31, Mr. Balázs was awarded the Kossuth Prize, Hungary’s highest cultural award, following in the footsteps of revered Hungarian artists such as András Schiff, György Ligeti, and Iván Fischer. Also in 2019, he became a Steinway Artist. Mr. Balázs earned his degree from the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest, where today he is a piano professor at the Keyboard Department.

He has performed with soloists and conductors like Mischa Maisky, Tamás Vásáry, Jose Cura, Stéphane Denéve, Vadim Repin, Pinchas Steinberg, Jukka Iisakkila, Charles-Olivier Munroe, Roger Bausier, David Mathues, and István Várdai and has played concerts with the Brussels Philharmonic, the Dortmund Philharmonic, the Aspen Philharmonic Orchestra, the Nagoya Symphonic Orchestra, the Zagreb Radio Orchestra, the Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra, the Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra, the Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Hungarian Radio Symphony Orchestra.

This is due to Balázs’s hero and inspiration, famed Hungarian pianist Georges Cziffra whom Balázs had grown up listening to while learning to play the piano. In many ways the inspiring playing of Cziffra has helped Balázs to discover what he would consider his calling, and proudly carry the same duties to the piano that his iconic formers once had, too. Mr. Balázs is the artistic director of the Georges Cziffra Festival which he founded in 2016 in homage to his idol. Since then, the festival has blossomed into one of the most prestigious classical music events in Hungary and artists like Mischa Maisky, José Cura, Vadim Repin, Arcadi Volodos, Fazıl Say, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, and Evgeny Kissin performed at the concerts.

In addition to his mastery of the greats—such as Beethoven, Bach, and Liszt—Balázs has also become well-known for his electrifying ability to improvise. It’s this skilled pairing of his classical mastery and ability to improvise that has made Balázs such a force within the industry, thanks to his drive in making classical music so much more approachable and “less serious”.