My friends are those who haunt the Ideal; there, dear friend, we 'recognize' each other, and shall always do so…

Liszt to Ödön Mihalovich

Obituary- Péter Komlós

5/05/2017

It is with profound sorrow that we announce the death of Péter Komlós, violinist, former professor of the Liszt Academy and founding first violinist of the Bartók String Quartet.

At his 70th birthday, Emil Petrovics formulated the following address: „It was Péter Komlós’s generosity, patience, fundamental purity and goodwill (and naturally unquestionable expertise) that have been able to keep together four very different, equal gentlemen for more than forty years, which is – as far as I know – an unparalleled thing in the modern history of Europe. He is the incorporated first violinist: he is calm, well-informed, civilised, elegant, free of mannerism, humble and loyal in the interpretation of the various works. All in all, a priceless treasure of the great music of this small country.”

Péter Komlós graduated from Ede Zathureczky’s class at the Liszt Academy. His chamber music professor was Leó Weiner, and he was the artist who inspired him to establish a string quartet at the age of twenty-two, which got named after Béla Bartók in 1963. In the following year, they won the Grand Prize of the prestigious International String Quartet Competition in Liège, Belgium, and this was when their splendid international career took off.  In the more than half a century following their foundation, the string quartet gave over four thousand concerts on four continents and were awarded prestigious prizes with their labels. Their repertoire comprised the entire music literature for string quartets, and they performed Bartók’s string quartet compositions about six hundred times, while a number of Hungarian composers (such as Attila Bozay, Zsolt Durkó, Kamilló Lendvay, Emil Petrovics, Sándor Szokolay) dedicated their works especially to them.

Péter Komlós also acted as a soloist, and between 1960 and 1969, he played the leading violin in the Hungarian State Opera Orchestra and in the 1980s, he was a member of the academic staff of the Liszt Academy. He was awarded the Liszt Prize in 1964 and the Bartók-Pásztory Prize in 1986, while he was also a two-time awardee of the most prestigious Hungarian artists’ award, the Kossuth Prize (1970, 1997). Some years ago, he said in an interview: „I would like to play as long as God allows us to perform our existing repertoire of about 150 pieces. Once András Mihály said: »it is possible to stop it, but is not ever possible to finish. «”. Accordingly, he never finished; he worked until his death. He delivered a highly memorable masterclass at the Liszt Academy two years ago. Although he had to stop playing in his string quartet, the sound of his violin is still alive, just like that of the Bartók String Quartet, not only in the form of fascinating recordings and concert memories but also in its artistic legacy, which we must tend to and guard for the sake of future generations.

The funeral ceremony of Péter Komlós will take place in the  Rákoskeresztúr New Public Cemetery at 11. 45 on 1 June, 2017.

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