Viola, Leader

Péter Kondor

I'm a first-generation musician. I went to a primary school that specialised in music, where and when I had to choose an instrument, and I chose the violin.

I encountered chamber music quite early on my music education path. I was in my first years in primary school when my teacher placed me in the chamber orchestra in Dunaújváros, and thanks to this, I learned to see things in a larger context and to get involved in music-making in an active way.

The success achieved at the competitions and the recognition and encouragement led me to the Conservatory in Győr, where I switched to viola in the fourth grade, and as it turned out later, I made one of the best decisions of my life.

Before entering the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music, I studied viola for two years at the Voice Department of the Bartók Conservatory in Budapest, from which I benefited greatly. Singing is the most natural way of making music because instead of the instrument, various body parts create the musical expressions. When you sing a melody, you get a sense of how it should sound, and this experience is of great help in "translating" the piece into an instrument's language.

Already in the first year of the Liszt Academy, we founded a string quartet – the Accord Quartet– which has been active with its original members ever since. We are very lucky to have learned the tricks of the profession from the members of the Bartók String Quartet. I remember those years with gratitude because the experience we gained with them is decisive both in artistic and personal terms. Later, we joined Rainer Schmidt's class in Madrid, where we studied for a year; then we went to Basel for two years for a masterclass, where Walter Levin, first violinist of the LaSalle Quartet, and Rainer Schmidt, second violinist of the Hagen Quartet acted as our professors.

Our actual career began in 2008, during the global economic crisis. In addition to quartet performances, I first performed in the Hungarian Opera as a stand-in, then for two and a half years, I, my wife and our then one-and-a-half-year-old son moved to Qatar. There, my wife got a job as a violin teacher, and in addition to helping out with the Qatari Philharmonic, I was able to spend a lot of precious time with my son – endless playing on playgrounds and various excursions made these months more colourful. Later, an audition was announced at the Hungarian State Opera, where I was hired in January 2016; at first, as tutti, then a few months later, after another successful audition, as a lead. It was a fantastic experience to perform the most gorgeous viola solos of the opera repertoire.

In the meantime, our second child was born.

In addition to working in the Opera House, the Accord Quartet continued to play, but over the years, I also worked in more and more formations, and I agreed to do everything I possibly could because I thought every experience could teach me something.

I have always wanted to play chamber music professionally, so there was no question that I would accept the invitation of the Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra. I was attracted not only by the incredibly high quality they represented but also by the loving, friendly atmosphere experienced during the "meet up" concerts. I became a regular member on 1 August 2023, and I am very excited about the scheduled concerts and tours, all of which I regard as challenges.

Music-making is vital for me. It grants me festive moments when I can encounter a Higher Entity, either as a mediator or as a receiver. The feeling that music streams through me is addictive. One wants to experience it over and over again, and we, in the ensemble, are trying to get close to this state already during rehearsals.

(Notes by Sarolta Gálfi /