An artist of “innate musicality” with a technical execution that belongs “only to the greatest” (The Guardian), Hungarian violinist Barnabás Kelemen has captured the attention of the music world. With a repertoire that ranges from classical to contemporary music, Kelemen gave the Hungarian premieres of the Ligeti and Schnittke Violin Concertos as well as the Hungarian premiere and world premiere of violin works by Gubaidulina and Kurtág.
Barnabás Kelemen collaborates with orchestras such as the BBC Symphony, Budapest Festival, Estonian National Symphony, Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrücken, Helsinki Philharmonic, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Hungarian National Philharmonic, Indianapolis Symphony, Iceland Symphony, London Philharmonic, Malaysian Philharmonic, NDR Radiophilharmonie Hannover, Netherlands Radio, Norwegian Chamber, Philharmonia Auckland, RTÉ National Symphony, Tapiola Sinfonietta and the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony.
Barnabás Kelemen works with renowned conductors such as Olari Elts, Iván Fischer, Jurjen Hempel, Pietari Inkinen, Vladimir Jurowski, Tonu Kajuste, Zoltán Kocsis, Hannu Lintu, Daniel Raiskin, Ola Rudner, Michael Sanderling, Alexander Shelley, Dmitri Slobodeniouk, Stefan Solyom, Masaaki Suzuki, Gábor Takács-Nagy, Krzysztof Urbánski and Ryan Wigglesworth. In play and lead engagements he has appeared with the Budapest Festival Chamber Orchestra, Het Kamerorkest Brugge, Indianapolis Symphony, Norwegian Chamber Orchestra, Austrian-Hungarian Haydn Philharmonic and Royal Concertgebouw Chamber Orchestra.
He has performed with Zoltán Kocsis at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Bozar in Brussels and Carnegie Hall in New York and regularly plays chamber music with Alexander Lonquich, José Gallardo and Nicolas Altstaedt. In 2010 he founded the Kelemen Quartet, which won the first prize at the Premio Paolo Borciani (Reggio Emilia) in 2014. The quartet also received a silver medal, audience prize and the Musica Viva Grand Prize at the Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition in 2011.
Highlights in the 2016/17 season include appearances as a soloist with Hessisches Staatsorchester and Zsolt Hamar, Lahti Symphony Orchestra and Huba Hollóköi, Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie and Sören Nils Eichberg, Turku Philharmonic Orchestra and Christian Kluxen as well as with Augsburger Philharmoniker, Savaria Symphony, Sibelius Academy Chamber Orchestra and the Spectra ensemble.
Barnabás Kelemen’s varied discography has received critical acclaim. His recording of Brahms Sonatas for Violin and Piano with Tamás Vásáry has won a Diapason d’Or, and his complete works of Liszt for Violin and Piano with Gergely Bogányi received the Grand Prix du Disque 2001 by the International Liszt Society. Kelemens recording of Bartók’s Rhapsodies and his Violin Concerto No. 2 with the Hungarian National Philharmonic and Zoltán Kocsis won the German Record Critics’ Award 2011. Other recent recordings include a live DVD of the complete Mozart Violin Concertos and CDs of Bartók’s Violin Concerto No. 1 also with Hungarian National Philharmonic and Zoltán Kocsis. A recital CD with Bartók Sonatas with Zoltán Kocsis and Solo Sonata received a Gramophone Award in 2013. In 2015 his recording of Ryan Wigglesworth’s Violin Concerto was released – performed by the Hallé Orchestra and conducted by Ryan Wigglesworth himself.
Born in Budapest in 1978, Barnabás Kelemen started the Franz Liszt Music Academy at the age of eleven. He was the Third Prize Winner of the 2001 Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels and received the First Prize at the International Violin Competition in Indianapolis in 2002. In recognition of his achievements the Hungarian government awarded him the Sándor Végh Prize in 2001, the Franz Liszt Prize in 2003, Rózsavölgyi Prize in 2003 and most recently the Kossuth Prize in 2012.
Since 2005 he has been a professor at the Franz Liszt Music Academy Budapest and since 2014 a professor at the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz in Cologne. He is also a guest professor at Indiana University Bloomington.
Barnabás Kelemen performs on a Guarneri del Gesù violin of 1742 (ex-Dénes Kovács), generously loaned by the State of Hungary.