Ildikó Szabó


Ildikó Szabó - cellist

Her technique is immaculate, (...) she is a true performer.“ - Iván Fischer, Music Director of Budapest Festival Orchestra

Hailed by critics as „more than an extraordinary talent“, the young virtuoso cellist Ildikó Szabó has established herself as one of the most exciting musical talents of the new generation. In September 2014, Ildikó has won the II. Prize, the Audience Award, and 7 Special Prizes at one of the World’s most prestigious music competitions, at the Pablo Casals International Cello Competition. She is acclaimed for her phenomenal technique and her creative musical imagination.

She has been a prize winner at 16 international competitions and has received a number of important awards. She is the first prize winner at the IV. Popper International Cello Competition, VII. Janigro International Cello Competition, Haydn Competition of Summer String Academy – Jacobs School of Music, Alfredo e Vanda Marcosig European Cello Competition, and Liezen International Cello Competition.

In 2013, Ildikó received the Junior Prima Prize, one of the most important prizes for young outstanding artists under 30 in Hungary. She is a scholarship recipient of the Study Foundation of the German Nation. She has also received invitations with full scholarship from the Verbier Festival Academy and the International Music Academy of Liechtenstein. She has won the Zoltán Kodály Award at the International Summer Academy „ISA“ 2014 in Semmering.

Ildikó was born in 1993 into a family of musicians. As a prodigious cellist, she was admitted at the age of 11 to the Exceptional Talents’ Class at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music, Budapest, in the class of Professor László Mező. Since October 2011, she has been working with Professor Jens Peter Maintz at the Berlin University of the Arts.

Ildikó has made numerous appearances in some of the world’s greatest concert halls: Mariinsky Theater II, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Laeiszhalle in Hamburg, Mozarteum in Salzburg, Teatro La Fenice in Venice, Conservatoire of Lausanne, Auer Concert Hall in Bloomington (Indiana, USA), Casa da Musica in Porto, Franz Liszt Academy of Music, and the Palace of Arts in Budapest. Concerts at world leading music festivals include the Verbier Festival, The International Holland Music Sessions, Heidelberger Frühling, Rheingau Festival, and the Budapest Spring Festival. In 2015 Ildikó has participated at the Krzyzowa Chamber Music Festival, where she received coachings by Alfred Brendel, and collaborated with Arnold Steinhardt, Viviane Hagner, Claudio Bohórquez, and Dénes Várjon, among others. As a soloist, she has performed with orchestras such as Budapest Festival Orchestra, Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra, Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra, Concerto Budapest, Hungarian Radio Orchestra, Porto Symphony Orchestra, and Hamburg Symphony Orchestra; and with conductors like Iván Fischer, Michael Sanderling, Luciano di Martino, Gábor Takács-Nagy, András Keller, Zsolt Hamar, and Tamás Vásáry.

After hearing Ildikó in 2007, the legendary János Starker praised her as „ ... an exceptionally gifted young cellist“. Since then, she continued her studies with him every summer until 2010. Other  important influences have come from world-acclaimed musicians, such as Lynn Harrell, Natalia Gutman, Philippe Muller, David Geringas, Frans Helmerson, Gary Hoffman, Lluis Claret, Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt, Gustav Rivinius, Reinhard Latzko, and Claudio Bohórquez, among others.

At the age of 14, she released her first CD recording, “Dances of the Elves”, under Hungaroton Classic label (HCD 32592), where she presents some of the most virtuosic pieces of the cello repertoire. This recording has been praised internationally. At the age of 18, she produced her first DVD recording, which contains works by J.S. Bach, Beethoven, Martinu, and Kodály’s Solo Sonata. In 2014, the CD recording of Emanuel Moór: Concerto for Two Cellos and Orchestra in D Major has appeared, performing with his father Péter Szabó and the Hungarian Symphony Orchestra Miskolc, conducted by Zsolt Hamar.

Since March 2013, she has been playing an Antonio Sgarbi cello (Rome, 1894), generously loaned to her by the German Foundation of Musical Life.

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Short Profile

NameIldikó, Szabó
Date of Birth1993-04-14
Born inHungary, Europe
Home LocationBerlin, Germany
Main languageEnglish
Additional languages German,  Hungarian 
attended UniversitiesBerlin University of the Arts