Born in 1957 in northern Hungary, guitarist/composer Ferenc Snétberger was the youngest son of a family of musicians. Early on his father, a guitar player also, became his role model. Snétberger studied classical music and jazz guitar. Today he is best known for his art of improvising and his crossing of stylistic borders. His music is inspired by the Roma tradition of his home country, Brazilian music and flamenco as well as classical guitar playing and jazz. He made numerous albums as a leader, co-leader and sideman and has toured all over Europe as well as Japan, Korea, India and the United States.
In 1995 he composed his Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra, "In Memory of My People", on the occasion the fiftieth year following the end of the holocaust. Inspired by melodies of the gypsy tradition, the concerto is a powerful statement against human suffering. It has been performed by the composer himself with chamber orchestras in Hungary, Italy and Germany and also at the New York UN headquarters (International Holocaust Memorial Day, 2007).
Ferenc Snétberger performed Luciano Berios Sequenza XI (for solo guitar) as well as concertos with orchestra by Vivaldi, Rodrigo, and John McLaughlin. He also wrote music for film and theater. In 2002 Snétberger was appointed freeman of his birth town and two years later received the Hungarian Order of Merit. In 2005 he was awarded the Liszt Ferenc Prize in Budapest, 2013 the Prima Díj, 2014 the Kossuth Díj.
In 2004 Snétberger founded his new trio with legendary Norwegian bass player Arild Andersen and Norway-based Italian drummer/percussionist Paolo Vinaccia. With natural ease and on the highest level the three of them bring together choice compositions, technical skills, improvisational drive and musical fantasy. Released in fall 2005, their debut album "Nomad" was greeted with enthusiasm by critics and listeners.
Snétbergers cooperation with Markus Stockhausen started in 1999 with "Landscapes", a duo suite recorded for Snétbergers album "For My People". In three movements the musicians immediately create a language of their own showing their talents in an amazing way. "They come along lightly and yet filled with melancholy - and they give the impression that one day they simply had to meet in order to make this music happen. You cant help but hope this cooperation will be continued soon," Ralf v.d. Kellen wrote in Intro magazine. Eight years later during which Snétberger and Stockhausen have further been stimulating each other artistically, their duo album "Streams" finally proves their development.
In 2011, Snétberger founded the Snétberger Musical Talent Center (www.snetbergercenter.org), for the musical education of children from disadvantaged backgrounds.
2016 was the release of Snétbergers last solo ablum In Concert and one year later the new Trio album Titok with Anders Jorman on bass and drummer Joey Baron at the prestigious label ecm records. This February was the release of his last album Hallgató at ECM New Series.
„A terrific collaboration between veteran Hungarian guitarist Ferenc Snétberger and András Keller's string quartet that takes us through six centuries of music – from sweet settings of John Dowland's compositions for lute to modernist classics by Shostakovich and Samuel Barber,alongside some darkly elegant pieces by Snétberger himself." - John Lewis, Guardian
András Keller is a violinist of the highest international reputation, founder of the acclaimed Keller Quartet, and the music director and first conductor of Concerto Budapest. Keller was born in Budapest in 1960 and took up the violin at the age of 7. Aged 14 he was admitted to the Liszt Academy of Music, where his teachers included György Kurtág, a composer with whom he has maintained a lifelong association. He was also a student of the legendary violinist Sándor Végh in Salzburg.
In 1983, Keller won the Hubay Violin Competition, and was subsequently invited by János Ferencsik to be the leader of Hungary's National State Orchestra. He also served as concertmaster of the Budapest Festival Orchestra from 1984 to 1991. In 1987 Keller, along with fellow students from the Budapest Academy – János Pilz (violin), Zoltán Gál (viola) and Otto Kertész (cello) – formed the Keller Quartet, which won both the Evian and the Borciani competitions in 1991. András Keller was awarded the Liszt Prize as leader of the quartet in 1996.
The Keller Quartet's ECM discography includes a revelatory performance of J. S. Bach's Die Kunst der Fuge; works for quartet by fellow Hungarians György Kurtág and György Ligeti; an innovatively sequenced anthology of slow movements, Cantante e tranquillo; and a programme that juxtaposes Schnittke's Piano Quintet and Shostakovich's last string quartet. Keller is also featured on a recording of Bartók's 44 Duos for Two Violins hailed as "exemplary" by Misha Donat in BBC Music Magazine and of Kurtág's intense and elliptical Kafka-Fragmente, which Anthony Holden described in the Observer as "a musical mosaic as vivid and telling as the work of the great novelist to whom it pays homage".
András Keller was head of the Chamber Music Department at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music from 2012 to 2015, and from 2016 will be professor of violin at London's Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He also teaches annually at the Aix-en-Provence Festival and is a regular guest of Yale University's Norfolk Chamber Music Festival and the International Musicians Seminar Prussia Cove.
Recorded live in the Grand Hall of Budapest's Liszt Academy, Hallgató is an inspired and moving album from Ferenc Snétberger and the Keller Quartett. Hungary's outstanding acoustic guitarist and its foremost chamber group are heard together and separately, in a programme with compositions by Snétberger, Shostakovich, John Dowland and Samuel Barber, which unfolds with its own internal logic and dramaturgy. This album marks the artists' first recorded collaboration, although Snétberger and András Keller have worked together often in live contexts.
Crossover Media Projects with: Ferenc Snetberger, Keller Quartet