Virtuoso fiddler Roby Lakatos is not only a scorching player, but a musician of extraordinary stylistic versatility. Equally comfortable performing classical, jazz, and his native Hungarian folk idiom, Lakatos is a musician who defies definition. His unparalleled technique places Lakatos among the best players in the world, but his musical curiosity and Roma heritage make him truly unique. He is the kind of musician rarely encountered in our time. Conjuring a 19th century sense of romanticism, Lakatos displays strength as an interpreter that derives from his experience as a composer and arranger, an improviser, a band leader, and consummate listener.
Born in 1965 into the legendary family of Gypsy violinists descended from Janos Bihari, “King of Gypsy Violinists,” Roby Lakatos was introduced to music as a child and at age nine he made his public debut as first violin in a Gypsy band. His musicianship evolved not only within his own family but also at the Béla Bartók Conservatory of Budapest, where he won the first prize for classical violin in 1984. Between 1986 and 1996, he and his ensemble delighted audiences at “Les Atéliers de la grande Ille” in Brussels, their musical home throughout this period. He has collaborated with Vadim Repin and Stéphane Grappelli, and his playing was greatly admired by Sir Yehudi Menuhin, who always made a point of visiting the club in Brussels to hear Lakatos.
In 2006 Lakatos and his ensemble toured North America for the first time, including a sell-out New York City debut in Carnegie’s Zankel Hall. Recent American highlights include appearances with Chicago’s Grant Park Symphony, Florida International Festival in Daytona Beach, and a return to Carnegie Hall.
In 2004, Lakatos appeared to great acclaim with the London Symphony Orchestra in the “Genius of the Violin” festival alongside Maxim Vengerov. Lakatos appears regularly on Hungarian and Belgian television and has been invited for productions on German television as well as Deutschlandradio, NHK Japan and London’s BBC. Roby Lakatos also tours with his own chamber orchestra, conducted by Dirk Verelst.
Lakatos has performed at the great halls and festivals of Europe and Asia including Santa Cecilia in Rome and the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, and with orchestras such as the Orchestre National de Radio France and the Dresden Philharmonic. The Ensemble’s universality has also allowed them to perform in collaboration with many other musicians including Giora Feidman, Herbie Hancock, Joshua Bell, Nigel Kennedy and Randy Brecker. When Zubin Mehta first heard Lakatos he spontaneously invited him to perform as a guest in a production of Die Fledermaus at the Bayerische Staatsoper Munich. In 1999, Lakatos debuted in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan where he now tours on a regular basis.
In 1998, the ensemble’s first recording was released by Deutsche Grammophon. Entitled Lakatos, the album, which includes works of Kodály and Brahms, as well as music from John William’s score for Schindler’s List and Charles Aznavour’s La Bohème, received the prestigious German ECHO-KLASSIK AWARD 1999. Another eclectic recording followed in 1999 entitled Lakatos: Live from Budapest, which mixes jazz and gypsy idioms with contemporary and classical elements. As Time Goes By was released by Deutsche Grammophon in 2002 and includes masterpieces from films such as Fiddler on the Roof, Once Upon a Time in America and many others in spectacular arrangements by Kalman Cséki and Roby Lakatos. On his own Avantijazz label, Lakatos has released three recordings: Fire Dance (2005), Klezmer Karma (2006), and Roby Lakatos with Musical Friends (2008). These were followed by La Passion: Live at Sydney Opera House (2013) and a unique recording of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons (2015), both on Avanticlassic.
Roby Lakatos will perform Roby Lakatos in Concert on April 5, 2018.