Zoltán RÁCZ

Guest member

Born in Budapest (1960) he has begun his musical studies in 1967 first on the piano and some years later also on percussion instruments. Having finished studies at Béla Bartók Conservatory he graduated from Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music in 1983.

As a student he got more and more interested in solo and chamber music repertoire of the percussion instruments. He has regularly participated in the programs of New Music Studio (Budapest) and presented several new pieces in concerts and recordings. In 1981 during Bartók Centenary Year he performed and recorded Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion with Zoltán Kocsis and Dezső Ránki.

In 1984 he has founded the Amadinda Percussion Group being still its artistic director. In 1985 the group won first prize of Gaudeamus Contemporary Music Competition in Rotterdam. During the past years the Amadinda become one of the most renowned percussion groups all over the world - regularly performing at all prestigious music festivals in Europe like Paris Autumn, Prague Spring, Zagreb Biennale, Warsaw Autumn, Bath Festival, Huddersfield Contemporary Festival, BBC Proms, Berlin Biennale and Wiener Festwochen. John Cage dedicated them his 72 minutes long composition Four4 which was presented first time in Tokyo in 1992 during the group's first tour in Japan. The Amadinda performed also in USA, Mexico City, Australia, Lebanon and three times in Taiwan at Taipei International Percussion Convention. In 2000 they performed world premier of György Ligeti's new piece for mezzo-soprano and percussion - Síppal, dobbal, nádihegedűvel - composed for the group. The Amadinda has made more than ten CDs for Hungaroton and recently for TELDEC (The Ligeti Project) and for Tzadik, New York.

In 1988 the Amadinda Percussion Group was awarded Liszt Award by the Hungarian government as well as the Order of the Merit of the Hungarian Republic by the President of Hungary in 1997. In 2004 the Amadinda received Kossuth Prize, the highest artistic prize of Hungary.

In the same years Zoltán Rácz appeared as soloist as well. He played and recorded - for BIS label - under the baton of Peter Eötvös, the composers' percussion concerto - Triangel - e.g. Berlin, Vienna and Budapest. He performed Bartók's Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion with András Schiff and Bruno Canino in several European countries performing in Wigmore Hall London, Berliner Festwochen, Mondsee Festival, Biennale di Venezia. Their recording of the piece was published on DECCA label. He has been principal timpani player of the Budapest Festival Orchestra between 1992 and 1996 as well as editor of a contemporary music program of the Hungarian Television for five years. From 1997 he is member of the artistic advisory board of the Budapest Spring Festival which is Hungary's most important annual artistic event. In 1997 he founded UMZE Chamber Ensemble together with musicologist, András Wilheim.

Since 1990 he is professor at Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music, Budapest. He made master classes like Ferienkurse für Neue Musik in Darmstadt (1996), Groznjan, Croatia (1997) Juilliard School of Music and Yale University (1998) Senzoku Gakuen College of Music, Toho Gakuen College of Music and Nagoya College of Music in Japan (1999) First International Percussion Summer Camp, Taiwan (1999) Edith Cowan University, Perth, Australia (2002) and Bartók New Music Festival held in Hungary in 1990, 1998, 2002 and 2003.

In 2002 Zoltán Rácz received the award of Chevalier de l'Ordre des arts et des lettres given by Madame Catherine Tasca, Minister of Culture and Communication of the French Republic. As a member of Amadinda Percussion Group he has received Kossuth Prize in 2004, and Bartók-Pásztory Award in 2008.