Csaba Onczay

Csaba Onczay

School for Exceptional Young Talents, Strings Department

Cello as Main Subject

Academic degree, University position: habilitated professor, professor emeritus

At the Franz Liszt Academy of Music (Budapest) he was the student of Antall Friss. Later, at the Moscow Tchaikovsky State Conservatory his master was Shirinsky, and in Siena, Andre Navarra.

International Awards:
1973: Pablo Casals International Cello Competition (Budapest) -
Nemzetközi Pablo Casals Gordonkaverseny (Budapest) – I. Prize
1976: Villa Lobos Competition (Rio de Janeiro) – I. Prize

Teaching activities and academic successes:
Since 1 September 1971 he has been teacher at the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music.
Since 1 July 1994 he has been university professor at the Liszt Academy.
Since 20 June 2003 he has been habilitated university professor at the Liszt Academy.
Since 4 September 2017 he has been professor emeritus at the Liszt Academy.
His successful work as a university professor is shown by the number of students who have studied under his auspices and are now solo cellists in Europe’s most renowned orchestras (eg. the Vienna Philharmonics).
Since 1994 he is the founder of the master class held in Japan by the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music.

Invited lecturer, master classes:
In 1995 he was guest professor in Freiburg (Germany).
In 2002 he was guest professor in Oberlin (USA).
From 2006 until 2009 he was a guest professor at the Indiana University - Bloomington, USA.
Since 2004 he has been a permanent guest professor at the Summer String Academy of the Indiana University.
Since 1978 he has regularly been giving master classes in Italy, Germany, France, Austria, Switzerland, the United States, Japan and Hungary. Many of his students are now solo cellists of the widely renowned orchestras of Europe (e.g. the Viennese Philharmonics).

English, German, Italian

Major concerts:
Between 1971 and 1987, he was the solo cellist of the Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra.
As a soloist, he has regularly performed in the major concert halls of Europe (Zurich, Rome, Munich, Prague, Vienna, Warsaw, Berlin, Paris, London), North and South America (New York and more than 80 cities in the USA, Buenos Aires, Ushuaia) and the Far East (Hong Kong, Japan). He gave highly successful performances with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, the Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig, the RAI Orchestra, as well as many ensembles in the United States.
He has been a regular guest at the most prestigious national and international festivals including the Pablo Casals Festival in Prades (France) and Kronberg (Germany), the Budapest Spring Festival, the Beaumaris Festival Gifu (Japan), the Prague Spring and the Summer Festival of Bloomington.

Other professional activities:
Invited jury member at national and international violoncello competitions (including Starker, Lutoslawski, Penderecki, Markneukirchen, Janigro)
1978: founding member of the Hungarian Kodály Society
1981-2001: Artistic director of the Niederstotzingen Musiktage in Germany
1987-2000: Artistic director of the Summer Academy at the Festetics Palace in Keszthely, Hungary
1985-1990: permanent guest of the Kodály Center of America (Boston), where he held master classes and talked about the works by Kodály
1986: founder of the Camerata Strumentale Italiana in Florence, Italy, of which he remained conductor and artistic director for two years.
Founding member of the Hungarian Classical Music Society
1987: founding member of the Hungarian Musical Society
2000: founder and permanent jury chairman of the David Popper International Cello Competition
Since 2002 he is the artistic director of the „Tavaszi hangok” Japanese Festival (chamber music concerts of the Japanese students of the Liszt Academy)
2012: ”Together for Talents” – President of the Talent Management Council
2014: head of the jury at the Pablo Casals International Cello Competition
2015: founding professor of the European Cello Festival in Lingen, Germany

His repertoire includes over 50 cello concertos.
In addition to the classical works of cello literature, he also plays the compositions of 20th-century and contemporary composers.
He is considered to be an outstanding interpreter of the contemporary music of Akutagawa, Gubaidulina, Lutoslawski, Pendereczki, Dutilleux and Landowski.
He performs the concertos composed for him personally by Hungarian composers including Kamilló Lendvay, Sándor Szokolay, Miklós Kocsár,  János Decsényi, András Borgulya, Máté Hollós and Péter Durkó.

Television and radio recordings: MTV (Hungarian Television), Hungarian Radio; recordings in Rome, Naples, Zurich, USA, Japan
CD recordings at Hungaroton and Naxos: concertos by C. P. E. Bach, Schumann, Lalo, Villa Lobos and Dohnányi, the complete sonatas of Beethoven, as well as the solo suites of J. S. Bach.

Awards and honours:
1973: International Pablo Casals Cello Competitions, Budapest – 1st Prize
1976: Villa Lobos Competition, Rio de Janeiro – 1st Prize
1976: Liszt Ferenc Prize
1986: Meritorious Artist
1993: Kossuth Prize
2004: Bartók-Pásztory Prize
1985, 1986, 1988, 1989: Artisjus Prize for preforming contemporary music
2008: Pro Artibus Artisjus Medal for for the distribution of contemporary Hungarian music abroad
2 September 2016: Honorary Citizen of Várpalota
2016. november 15.: Golden Plaque of the city of Szeged
2019. május 21.: „Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon Award”
2019. december 4.: Corresponding member of the Hungarian Academy of Art


Le Monde reported about him in August 1990 (Pablo Casals Festival Prades): “More significant was the successful presence of Hungarian cellist Csaba Onczay, with an extraordinary concentration, connected to a sound of “velvet” – disregarding any effects -... vivacious, deep, passionate and sometimes with a “ghostly” character ... close to Casals for saying shortly”.