Kodály's method of teaching music is brilliant …. All good music-making begins with the voice.

Sir Georg Solti

Csaba Ökrös passed away

5 July 2019

Teacher of the Folk Music Department dies at the age of 59.

Csaba Ökrös was born on 17 June 1960 in Szolnok. He started his primary school in Jászberény with music as his main subject. He began to play the violin at the age of nine. After the high school final exam, he was admitted to the Ho Si Minh Teacher’s Training College with music and history as his main subjects, where he studied one and a half years. He earned his folk music bachelor’s degree in 2010 and his master’s degree in 2012 at the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music. 

He started recording instrumental folk music with the assistance and guidance of Zoltán Kallós in Transylvania, and he joined the Hegyalja Folk Ensemble in Sátoraljaújhely in the same year, where he could learn the management of a music ensemble from experienced musicians. He spent two summers teaching violin and Hungarian folk music at the MIT in Boston, then joined the Bartok Folk Dance Ensemble where he played the violin for over ten years while performing in the Hungarian State Folk Ensemble upon the invitation of Sándor Tímár for four years. Together with Zsolt Zsuráfszki, he founded the Kodaly Chamber Dance Ensemble; he was a permanent musician and musical editor of the band until its termination. Together with violinist Miklós Molnár and viola player László Kelemen, he founded the Ökrös Ensemble in the same year; viola player László Mester and contrabassist Róbert Doór joined them in 1990. They promoted Hungarian folk music with concerts and teaching over 17 years both at home and abroad. He was a member of the Violinist Ensemble of the Honvéd Art Ensemble between 2004-2007 and played music for the Téka Ensemble between 2008–2012. 

He taught at the Folk Music School in Óbuda for ten years since 1989 then four years at the Vujicsics Tihamér Music School in Szentendre, while parallelly teaching violin at the Green Island School in Szigetmonostor for two years for children between 6-18. He was violin professor of the Folk Music Department, then taught in the Zoltán Kodály Hungarian Choir School since September 2012.

He was awarded the Kodály Prize in 2007, the Regional Prima Prize in 2012 and the Liszt Prize in 2019.

 

The Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music and its Folk Music Department are bidding farewell to one of its first students, later professor and senior lecturer. The nationally known and recognised Csaba Ökrös, similarly to those belonging to the first generation of the folklore dance movement learnt from Transylvanian rural musicians and applied for the Liszt Academy’s folk music programme at the age of 47, although his instrumental knowledge and his acquaintance with Hungarian folk music traditions would have already allowed him to teach. He preferred to finish the five-year course, however, setting an example to his 25-year younger classmates due to his dedication to the genre, education and diligence. He was longing for the acquirable, more comprehensive and general musical knowledge accessible through his studies. His studies at the faculty turned him towards to composing, the firm basis of which was his knowledge of repertoire and the internalised Hungarian folk tunes and motive treasures. His name is linked with many theatre musical accompaniments. Following his studies, he helped our work being the teacher of folk violin-playing and passed on his knowledge to his students. He was a credible professor with credible expertise and a credible person. His performing art was honoured with Liszt Award in 2019. His disease attacked fast, leaving him no time to say goodbye. His loss is an irrecoverable absence both for us and for the folk-dance movement. He is now playing in the ensemble of the powers above with his masters, on the right of the famous first violin Sándor Neti. We are happy we knew him and that we could work with him! We cherish his memory; may he rest in peace. 

(Reminiscences of Pál Richter, head of the Folk Music Department)