András Keller

The Hungarian Kossuth Prized violinist, founder of the famous Keller Quartet, music director of Concerto Budapest Symphony Orchestra since 2007 and Professor of Violin and Béla Bartók International Chair at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. He has enjoyed a varied career as a soloist, concertmaster and chamber musician at the highest international level.

András Keller was seven years old when he took his first violin lessons. At the age of fourteen, he began his studies at the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music under the guidance of Dénes Kovács, Ferenc Rados and György Kurtág and then in Salzburg, by Sándor Végh.  János Ferencsik then invited Keller to work as the concertmaster of the Hungarian State Orchestra. Simultaneously, he was appointed soloist of the National Philharmonic Orchestra. From 1984 to 1991, he acted as the concertmaster of the Budapest Festival Orchestra.  He founded the Keller String Quartet (András Keller, János Pilz, Zoltán Gál and Ottó Kertész) and won the world's two most prestigious string quartet competitions in 1990: in Evian and Borciani in Reggio Emilia. The ensemble is a regular guest at the most significant European and American music festivals and concert halls. They have toured Japan, Middle- and South-America and New Zealand.

Highlights of András Keller's career were, among others, the recitals given with Sándor Végh, the festive gala concert in the Barbican, London in honour of the 50th anniversary of Béla Bartók's death and Princess Diana's invitation. His solo and chamber music albums have garnered the most prestigious prizes, such as the Deutsche Schallplattenpreis six times between 1996 and 2006. He is the recipient of the honours of the city of Bonn and was voted to be the Artist of the Year in Italy. Some of his other awards include the MIDEM Classical Award (twice), the Victoire Prix, the Record Academy Award in Japan and the Grand Prix de l'Académie Charles Cros in France. In May 2007, he received the Caecilia Prize in Belgium for the best chamber music recording of the year.

András Keller is a regular guest artist of the most prominent music festivals, such as the Salzburger Festwochen, festivals in Lucerne and Montreux, the London Proms, the Mostly Mozart New York, the Berliner Festspiele, the Schubertiade, the Wiener Festwochen, the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival or the Prague Spring. The maestro gives masterclasses throughout the world. He is a regular coach at, among others, at the Internationale Sommerakademie, in the school of IMS Prussia Cove and has also acted as guest professor at Yale University,  at the  Aix-en-Provence International Festival, at the Verbier Festival, at the Accademia Fiesole in Florence or the Royal Academy of Music in London.

András Keller has been coordinating and compiling the programmes of the Arcus Temporum Festival in Pannonhalma. He made his debut as a conductor in February 2003 with the Orchestre di Padova e Veneto. In 2006, in partnership with Dénes Várjon, he launched the  Sándor Végh Music Nights and co-founded the Végh Philharmonic.

In the course of his concert tours, he has taken to the stages of nearly all prominent concert halls of the world, such as the Musikverein and the Konzerthaus in Vienna, the Royal Albert Hall and the Barbican in London, the Berliner Philharmonie and Konzerthaus, the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Carnegie Hall and the Lincoln Center in New York. Furthermore, he has been a guest at various renowned international classical music events, such as the Folles Journée, Bangkok's International Festival and the China Shanghai International Arts Festival

Besides his efforts as a music director, he also acts as the artistic director of various music events initiated by him, among others Concerto Budapest’s Mozart and Beethoven Days, "Listen to Brahms!" series or in recent years, the minifestivals, which are now established celebrations of contemporary music.

Keller's appointment as the head of Concerto Budapest induced a serious change in the life of the orchestra, as, besides their increasing classical repertoire, they also placed a great emphasis on 20th-century and contemporary productions (often in Hungary). 

His accomplishments have been not only rewarded with dozens of international honours but with the Liszt Award in 1995; in 2012, the Bartók-Pásztory Prize and the Meritous Artist Award. In 2021, he became the recipient of the Kossuth Prize.

Since January 2016 he is a Professor of Violin at one of the most prestigious musical institutions in the world, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London.

Full list of Prizes

  • Kossuth Prize (2021)
  • Golden Lion Award of the Venice Television Festival (2020)
  • Bronz Lovie Award (2020)
  • Gramofon Prize (H, 2016) Best Record of the Year – Complete piano concertos of Beethoven with Dénes Várjon, Concerto Budapest and András Keller
  • Merit Artist of Hungary (2012)
  • Bartók-Pásztory Prize (2012)
  • Liszt Ferenc Prize (1995)
  • Hubay Violin Competition I. Prize (1983) 
  • ARTISJUS Prize (1984)
  • ARTISJUS Prize (1985)
  • Hungarian National Radio Violin Competition III. Prize (1982)
  • National Violin Competition of Music Schools I. Prize and Grand Prix
  • (Szeged 1972)
  • International Kocian Violin Competition Usti nad Orlici (CZ) II. Prize (1972)
  • International Kocian Violin Competition Usti nad Orlici (CZ) III. Prize (1974)
  • International Brahms Chamber Music competition Hamburg (1983) Special Prize
  • Portsmouth: Bartók Prize (1988)
  • Banf (Canada) International String Quartet Competition) III. Prize (1989)
  • Evian String Quartet Competition (Evian, France) II. Prize and Grand Prix de Critics,
  • Evian City Prize
  • Mozart Prize (1988, 1990 Keller Quartet)
  • Evian String Quartett Competition (1990) I. Prize and Grand prix de Critics,
  • Prize of the French Ministry of Culture
  • Borciani String Quartett Competition (Reggio Emilia, Olaszország): I. Prize and
  • Pro Quartett Special Prize (1990, Keller Quartet)
  • Deutsche Schallplattenpreis 7 times (1993 – 2014) (for interpreting music of Tchaikovsky, Debussy, Ravel, Shostakovich, Bartók, Kurtág, Ligeti)
  • Deutsche Schallplatenpreis Grand Prix (1994) (Complete String Quartets of Bartók)
  • Deutsce Schallplattenpreis Grand Prix (1995) (Complete String Quartets of Bartók)
  • Honours of City Bonn
  • Victoire Prix (FR) (Bartók)
  • Record Academy Award (Japan) (2007) Kurtág: Kafka Fragments
  • Academy Charles Cros: Grand prix du Disque
  • MIDEM – Cannes Classical Award (1995) (Complete String Quartets of Bartók)
  • MIDEM – Cannes Classical Award (2007) (Kurtág: Kafka Fragments)
  • Caecilia Prix (B) The Best Chamber Music Record of the Yearaz (2007) (Kurtág: Kafka Fragments)
  • Caecilia Prix (B) Ligeti I - II. Quartets and Barber Adagio (2013)
  • Edison Award (Dutch Record Prize) (2007) Kurtág: Kafka Fragments
  • Premio Abbiati: the Artist of the Year in Italy
  • Gramophon Award (UK) (1997)
  • Royal Philharmonic Society Award Nomination (UK) (2006)
  • Diapason’ D Or (Fr) 3 times
  • Choc Music (FR) 3 times
  • Repertoire 10 (Fr) 9 times
  • BBC Music Magazine: Peak of the Month (UK)   
  • Stereophile (D)                                                           
  • Choc du Mois (Fr)
  • New York Times Best Recordings of the Year (2014) Keller Quartet (Ligeti / Barber)
  • Tais Award (CZ) (2014) Keller Quartet
  • Building a Library/Radio3 (UK) First choice (2015) Keller Quartet Dvorak works
  • ICMA Award Nomination (2016) Keller Quartet: Cantante e Tranquillo
  • ICMA Award Nomination (2017) (Concerto Budapest, Keller Várjon)

Publications on András Keller:

papageno.hu review by Alexandra Ivanoff, 21 November 2021 "Listening on Steroids" 

bachtrack.com interview by Zoltán Szabó, 30 November 2020 "Bouquets in an empty hall: Concerto Budapest's Beethoven Day"

bachtrack.com interview by Alexander Hall, 19 October 2018 "Renewing and reinvigorating tradition: András Keller in Budapest and London"

violonist.com interview by Laurie Niels, 12 november 2015 "András Keller named Professor of Violin at the Guildhall School"

photo: Judit Marján

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