Arts + Culture

Hungarian Master Violinist Roby Lakatos Brings His Dazzling Five-Piece Ensemble to UCLA Live as Part of Their U.S. Tour Debut Nov. 19


The scorching Hungarian violin virtuoso Roby Lakatos brings his incredible five-piece string band toUCLA Live in their U.S. tour debut, performing an eclecticprogram ranging from original compositions and Gypsy standards to works byCharles Trenet, Leo Weiner and Chick Corea. This concert takes place at 8 p.m. onSaturday, Nov. 19 at Royce Hall on the UCLA campus and runs one hourand 15 minutes with one intermission. For tickets visit,call 310-825-2101, or contact Ticketmaster.

The Roby LakatosEnsemble features Lakatos and LszloBni on violins; Klman Cski, piano; Ernest Bang,cimbalom and guitar; Oszkr Nmeth,double bass; and Attila Ront, guitar.

"In a world full ofbrilliant virtuoso violinists, Roby Lakatos standsout as something special," wrote the Daily Telegraph. With his striking boxer'sframe, curved moustache and long jacket, this exotic maestro commands attentionbefore he even plays a note. And then when he starts playing, it's impossibleto notice anything else but his virtuoso fireworks. "Not gypsy music as we knowit now," wrote the Independent. "This was the kind of well-bred but dazzlingplaying that excited 19th century listeners, Brahms among them, andstill gets audiences on their feet."

Roby Lakatos is nearlyimpossible to pigeonhole. Classical virtuoso, gypsy violinist or "devil'sfiddler," jazz improviser, composer and arranger, Lakatosis a kind of universal musician so rarely encountered in our time, as dazzlingand charismatic when he's playing classical music and jazz as he is in his ownHungarian folk idiom. He has performed at the great halls and festivals ofEurope and Asia. Now, Lakatos is embarking on hisfirst North American tour.

Born in 1965 into the legendary family of gypsy violinistsdescended from Janos Bihari,"King of Gypsy Violinists," Lakatos was introduced tomusic as a child, and at age nine he made his public debut as first violin in agypsy band. His musicianship evolved, not only within his own family but alsoat the Bla Bartk Conservatoryof Budapest, where he won the first prize for classical violin in 1984. Between1986 and 1996, he and his ensemble delighted audiences at "Les Atliers de la Grande Ille" inBrussels, their musical home throughout this period. He has collaborated with Vadim Repin and Stphane Grappelli, and hisplaying was greatly admired by Sir Yehudi Menuhin, who always made a point of visiting the club inBrussels to hear Lakatos.

In March 2004, Lakatos appeared togreat acclaim with the London Symphony Orchestra in the orchestra's "Genius ofthe Violin" festival alongside Maxim Vengerov. In the2004-05 season, Lakatos also performed in Cannes and Gstaad at the Menuhin Festival,with the Essen and Malmo symphony orchestras, andtours in Tokyo, Singapore, and Istanbul. Lakatosappears regularly on Hungarian and Belgian television and has been invited forproductions on German television as well as Deutschlandradio,NHK Japan and London's BBC. Lakatos also tours withhis own chamber orchestra, conducted by Dirk Verelst.

Recently, Lakatos and his ensemblehave performed at Santa Cecilia in Rome and the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, andwith orchestras such as the Orchestre National deRadio France and the Dresden Philharmonic. The Ensemble's universality has alsoallowed them to perform in collaboration with many other musicians including Giora Feidman, Herbie Hancock, Joshua Bell, Nigel Kennedy and Randy Brecker. When Zubin Mehta firstheard Lakatos he spontaneously invited him to performas a guest in a production of "Die Fledermaus" at the BayerischeStaatsoper Munich. In 1999, Lakatosdebuted in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan where he now tours on a regular basis.

In 1998, the ensemble's first CD was released by Deutsche Grammophon. Titled "Lakatos," the CD, which includes works of Kodlyand Brahms, as well as music from John Williams' score for "Schindler's List" and Charles Aznavour's "La Bohme," received the prestigious GermanECHO-KLASSIK AWARD 1999. Another eclectic CD followed in 1999 titled "Lakatos: Live from Budapest," which mixesjazz and gypsy idioms with contemporary and classical elements. "As Time Goes By," was released byDeutsche Grammophon in 2002 and includes masterpiecesfrom films such as: "Fiddler on theRoof," "Once Upon a Time in America," and many others in spectaculararrangements by Kalman Cskiand Roby Lakatos. The newest CD, "Fire Dance," is on the Avantijazz label, and is now available.

Tickets for Roby Lakatosare available for $55, $45, and $30 at the UCLA CentralTicket Office at the southwest corner of the James West Alumni Center, onlineat and at all Ticketmasteroutlets. For more information or to charge by phone, please call 310-825-2101.UCLA students may purchase tickets in advance for $15. Student rush tickets atthe same price are available to all students with a valid hour prior to show time.


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