Róbert Horváth

I was born and raised in Körmend, Vas county. My father learned to play the violin at music-school-level and later–among many other tasks–worked as a saxophonist. We lived in a block where we could practice a wind instrument up to a certain sound level, so my father rehearsed his repertoire on the violin. When I did not feel like going to kindergarten, I could stay home with him. I was really excited about what I can do with a violin. I was not much more than three years old; my father sometimes handed over me the violin. He even made me press the strings thinking if I manage to make a sound, I may even be talented. That is exactly what happened.

I was ten when my parents read an advertisement in the newspaper Vas Népe about the possibility of admission to the Special Talents Class. They did not want to send me away, but they considered this a great opportunity to show my talent to musical experts. It was the first time I visited the capital. When the rector called my father to tell him I was admitted, my mother was in despair. She was crying so loud on the corridor of the Academy that my father told the rector he couldn’t possibly leave me there as he did not have the strength to listen to my mother crying all the way home on the four-hour train ride. They decided to find a nearby place where I can learn playing the violin.
That’s why I started the conservatory in Szombathely at the age of 10, where I was welcome by the older ones; I loved there. A year later my teacher Teréz Medgyes told me to be brave, step a bit further from my family and continue my studies in Budapest. I entered the conservatory in Budapest, to the class of Ferenc Halász, and after that, I got admitted to the Liszt Academy.

After the unexpected death of Professor Ferenc Halász, Géza Kapás became my mentor. He helped me in getting to the Weiner-Saxon Chamber Symphonic Orchestra; with them, I toured in Salzburg frequently until 2004. I still had my bow redone at home. Opposite the shop lived the violinist Péter Hamar, who kept asking the violin expert if he knew young, talented violinists. That is how I found myself in Diósd, at a recording for the Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra. It was successful, and János Rolla invited meg to join the band. I accepted it, of course. He told me then, as a good advice, that the orchestra is a big family with all great and unpleasant sides of it, but whenever we are on stage, we must forget everything, only the performance matters. To be faithful to this tradition of quality and being a family, is a great task and responsibility–wherever we play, it is always the Carnegie Hall for us, we cannot see it as a no name, small village. In case it all finished for me one day, I would only say “Thank you”.

I got the love of music from my father, and I cannot be thankful enough for him to create a warm family environment with my mother so I could find my path where they both supported me, whatever it costed. Not to make me a great violinist one day, but to help me become whoever I want to be. I remember my father accompanying me to my violin lesson one day, when I saw my friends playing football. I told him I saw the others playing, and he said “son, no problem, we can return home, put down the violin, and join them”. Hearing that, I started crying; I did not want to join the others at that point, I was just happy to see them; anyway, I could freely play football after violin lessons.

They say three things are necessary to be successful: talent, diligence, and luck. In my case, however, even these three would not have been enough without the love and support of my family.

I hope I can pass on their example together with my wife, Kármen, and create a magical great childhood for our eight-year old daughter, who is learning to play the piano.

(Notes by Sarolta Gálfi /