Gábor Janota

January 27, 1936. Torda
Janota Gábor (Fotó: Zeneakadémia képgyűjteménye)He graduated at the Academy of Music in 1961 as a student of Imre Rudas; while he won second prize (first prize was not awarded) at the International Bassoon Competition in Munich in 1958. He was first bassoonist in the Symphonic Orchestra of the Hungarian National Radio between 1962 and 1970, while between 1970 and 1972 as well as 1974 and 1976 he was first bassoonist of the Canadian London Symphony Orchestra. From 1977 to 1993 – with several interruptions abroad – he was first then second bassoonist of the State Concert Orchestra. He was also playing first bassoon at the Liszt Ferenc Chamber Orchestra for decades. He has been member of juries at international competitions, premiered several new Hungarian works in his home country and abroad, he has been giving recitals in many countries and making more solo recordings.
In the official concert life formulated in the nineteenth century only the flute and the clarinet was accepted  among the winds to play in solo on stage; though several instruments of the orchestra that had significant solos earlier were pushed into the background having the task of playing only in the orchestra as an ‘assigned' part.
Resurrecting instruments like that is a mission of the talented and committed. The bassoon was resurrected by Gábor Janota and his mission was discovered first by the Hungarian record production. He recorded Vivaldi concertos with the Liszt Ferenc Chamber Orchestra and then other earlier and contemporary works. He premiered sixteen new Hungarian bassoon works, out of which several were dedicated for him (Attila Bozay, Miklós Kocsár, István Láng and others). Canadian and Austrian composers also wrote and dedicated works for him. On his recording of the Bassoon Concertos of Hummel and Johann Christian Bach (which he performed again with the Liszt Ferenc Chamber Orchestra) foreign critics wrote enthusiastically, as well. ‘You do not have to be a bassoon fan to find pleasure in listening to the music of this recording: the concertos found an admirable soloist in Gábor Janota [...] The recording achieved a perfect balance between the performance and sounding of the concerto.'" – as the readers of The New Records learned.
By an invitation he worked in Canada in the first half of the 1970s as a result of his first Vivaldi-recording, worked in orchestras, played chamber music as a member of the New Chamber Winds, gave recitals and taught at summer courses. He was guest professor at the music departments of the University of Western Ontario, University of Toronto, University of Victoria, gave master classes in Canada, Belgium, and he has been doing that regularly in Austria since 1994. He has been a professor at the Academy of Music since 1972 with more interruptions abroad. In the meantime the second volume of his Vivaldi recordings was also issued. His CD titled Kortárs magyar művek fagottra és zongorára (Contemporary Hungarian Works for Bassoon and Piano) was released in the 1990s, with Zoltán Kocsis and Klára Körmendi as his partners.
A basic feature of his artistry is that he has never wanted to anything else out of the bassoon than the individuality of the instrument, he was never afraid of the stout, corpulent soundings, did not minced: he knows the spirit of the bassoon and the laws of music that are the same on every instrument. He commented on his instrument and repertoire the following: ‘Of course I'm seeking to take the possibilities of modern instruments technically as they provide convenience and a richer scale of expression. Regarding the artistic concept though I would like to be authentic as much as it is possible at all with our current knowledge in music history and style.'
In his opinion the bassoon literature waned to be pokey in the last two centuries could be expanded. He searches for long-forgotten works that are suitable for transcription and publication, inspiring contemporary composers for composing works for his instrument. He thinks that in order to popularize the instrument the technical characteristics of the French bassoon better utilizable in its higher registers should be created on the German bassoon with its nice sounding.
T. A.


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