Budapest, 8 September 1951
Dezső Ránki, a pianist well known and highly regarded all over the world, studied at the famous Kadosa class of the Music Academy. He began his musical education with Kinga Domokos at the Kertész Street music school, and then, from the age of twelve, with Mrs Máthé nee Klára Kéri, at the Béla Bartók Specialist Music School. He was admitted to the Music Academy, what is more, immediately to the second year, at seventeen. Concurrently he also completed his secondary education. He received his diploma in 1973, at the age of twenty-one. In Pál Kadosa's class his fellow students included Jenő Jandó and Zoltán Kocsis. Naturally, besides Kadosa, he was also taught by the then assistant, Ferenc Rados, with whom he worked intensively during his years at the Academy.
In 1969 he won first prize at the international Schumann piano competition at Zwickau, and that launched his international career. From his second year at the Academy, he regularly performed abroad. During these years other professors important in his education were György Kroó and András Pernye (music history), Melinda Kistétényi (solfeggio), and András Mihály (chamber music). On completing his studies at the Academy, he remained at the institution as an assistant lecturer, and later also took on private pupils. He taught at the Academy of Music for almost ten years, but, despite numerous requests, never accepted a job as visiting professor abroad.
From 1973 he was a soloist of the Philharmonic, and soon gave as many as 60-70 concerts a year; he has maintained roughly this rate of appearances in various parts of the world. From his student years onwards he toured almost the whole of Europe, and appeared in many countries in North and South America, as well as in Japan and New Zealand. He was a guest at many famous festivals (Antibes, Luzern, Paris, etc.).
Dezső Ránki has performed a large part of the piano concerto repertoire, accompanied by the leading orchestras of the world (the London Philharmonic, the BBC orchestra, the Concertgebouw orchestra, the Berlin Philharmonic, the Paris Orchestre Nationale, the Tokyo NHK orchestra). Besides the conductors in Hungary, he worked with such outstanding conductors worldwide as Zubin Mehta, Leonard Bernstein, Kirill Kondrashin, Lovro von Matacic and others.
Dezső Ránki often appears as a chamber musician as well. In the early years he frequently played in partnership with Zoltán Kocsis, later with Miklós Perényi, at song recitals with Peter Schreier. In the past decade and a half he has played chamber music primarily with his wife, Edit Klukon. Together they have performed much of the repertoire for four hands, including many hardly known pieces of great technical difficulty (e.g. Liszt's Faust Symphony, the transcription of Beethoven's 9th Symphony). They give 10-15 concerts together each year, often for charity, occasionally playing pieces for two pianos.
Ránki has made more than fifty recordings, among them such outstandingly successful ones as the discs compiled from Chopin and Liszt pieces, selections from the works of Igor Stravinsky and Maurice Ravel, or the recording of the whole of Bartók's Microcosm. Besides Hungaroton, several important companies abroad also published his recordings (Teldec, Nippon Columbia). His repertoire extends from the classical composers, the music of Haydn and Mozart, to Bartók, but occasionally he also performs more recent music (Kurtág). Several television documentaries have been made of him, both at home and abroad.
The critics have written about Dezső Ránki's piano playing with unequivocal enthusiasm from the beginning of his career: "This young artist leads music back almost into a stage of innocence. Everything that with others appears artificial, with him becomes simple, everything that is otherwise complicated, with him becomes matter of course." (Muzsika, 1970) Later criticisms have almost always stressed his outstanding musicality, his sure sense of style, poetic performance, the depth and intensity of his music-making, and his elegant and assured virtuosity.
Dezső Ránki received numerous awards in the course of his career, among them the Liszt, the Kossuth and the Béla Bartók-Ditta Pásztory Prizes.