The Choir of the Saint
The largest basilica in Budapest (the second largest in Hungary), the
Budapest Saint Stephen Basilica was
built between 1857 and 1905 and was consecrated on 19 November 1905. The Basilica
choir was founded in 1909. The conductors of the choir were Jenő Sztojanovics
(1909-1913), Dezső Demény (1913-1938), Artúr Harmat (1938-1959), Frigyes Hidas
(1959-1962). László Fehér has been
leading the choir since 1962.
Amongst old masterpieces, motettas, masses, oratories of Des Pres, Palestrina,
Lassus, Gabrieli, Vivaldi, Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and Liszt, the choir
performs a large number of contemporary Hungarian pieces. László Fehér was the
first who conducted several compositions of Artúr Harmat, Lajos Bárdos, Zoltán
Kodály, Gábor Lisznyay-Szabó, Frigyes Hidas Frigyes és István Koloss.
Every Sunday on the ten o'clock
Holy Mass and on important religious events the
choir performs a Latin mass with interwoven Gregorian chants. Besides the liturgical service,
which is the main task of the choir, it also gives independent concerts.
The first foreign tour of the choir took place in 1984.
Since then the choir has completed several more tours in foreign countries such
as Italy, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France
and in Transylvania, Romania.
There are several CD recordings available, for more information see
László Fehér, Conductor
in 1934, Budapest. Started his musical studies in the Pest Nemzeti Zenede where
his piano teacher was Edit Czöllner and learnt musical theory from Lőrinc Kesztler.
At the Conservatory his teachers were Kálmán Halász and Ferenc Gergely (organ),
Rezső Sugár (composition). He learnt sacred music from Artur Harmat and Sebestyén Pécsi. He became cantor of the Józsefváros Parish Church in 1954,
and the chorus master of Jézus Szíve Church in 1955.
László Fehér has been the conductor of the
Saint Stephen Basilica's Choir since 1962. He taught and conducted several
oratories, has a significant role in promoting and performing 20th century
Since 1984 he has led the choir on tours in Italy, Germany, Austria,
Switzerland, France and in Transylvania, Romania.
He was the Hungarian member of jury of the
'Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina'
choir competition in Rome, 1995.
He was honoured with Ferenc Kölcsey Award on the Day of Hungarian Culture
András Gábor Virágh
- organist, composer
Gábor Virágh has been the Titular Organist of the Saint Steven Basilica,
Budapest, and he has been also lecturer for composition, forms and analysis,
instrumentation and solfeggio of the Faculty of Music of the University of
Debrecen and at the Franz Liszt University of music (Budapest).
His first teachers were Endre Virágh, András Virágh (organ) and István Koloss
(composition). From the Autumn of 1998 until 2010 he was the organist of the
Virgin Mary Main Parish Church in the city centre of Budapest. In 1999 he was
admitted to the Béla Bartók Secondary School of Music, where his organ teacher
was Zsuzsa Elekes and his composition teacher was István Fekete Győr. From
September 2003 he was a student of Peter Planyavsky. In 2004 he started to major
in organ playing at the Conservatory of the University of Debrecen where his
professors were Dezső Karasszon, DLA, Szilárd Kovács and Hedvig Jakab, DLA. He
graduated with honours in 2009. From 2005 until 2009 he was invited to occupy
the post of organist and accompanist of the „Kántus” (mixed youth choir) of the
Reformed College of Debrecen by their teacher and conductor, Sándor Berkesi. In
2013 he has finished his composition studies at the Franz Liszt University of
Music in Budapest, where his professor was Gyula Fekete DLA.
Outside Hungary he performed both as a composer and as a performing artist in
Austria, Czech Republic, France, Holland, Germany, Romania, Switzerland,
Serbia-Montenegro, Slovakia, the United Kingdom and the United States of
Ewald Kooiman (Amsterdam), Zsigmond Szathmáry (Freiburg), Antal Váradi
(Stuttgart) – organ
József Ács (Eschweiler), Zsolt Gárdonyi (Würzburg), Miklós Maros (Stockholm),
Nigel Osborne (Edinburgh) – composition
2013 - Composition prize of the Hungarian Academy of Arts
2013 - „AURORA MUSIS AMICA” Composition PRIZE
2012 - International Composition Competition, Mürzzuschlag, 1st PRIZE
2011 - „JUNIOR PRIMA PRIZE”
- Composition Competition of the Franz Liszt University of Music, Budapest, 2nd
PRIZE, SPECIAL PRICE of the „Society of the Hungarian Contemporary Music”
2010 - „ANNIE FISCHER” SHOLARSHIP OF PERFORMING ART
- Composition Competition of the Franz Liszt University of Music, Budapest, 1st
PRIZE, SPECIAL PRICES of the „Society of the Hungarian Contemporary Music”, and
„Béla Bartók Memory House”
2009 - SCHOLARSHIP OF ARTS, Debrecen
- „EXCELLENT STUDENT OF THE FACULTIES OF SCIENCES” award, Debrecen
2008 - Composition Competition of the Franz Liszt University of Music, Budapest,
1st PRIZE SPECIAL PRICE of the „Society of the Hungarian Contemporary Music”
- SCHOLARSHIP OF ARTS, Debrecen
- International Composition Competition, Oradea (Romania), 1st PRIZE (the jury
gave no 2nd prize)
2007 - SCHOLARSHIP OF THE HUNGARIAN REPUBLIC
2006 - Singing Competition of the University of Theatre and Film, Budapest,
- „THE BEST CONTEMPORARY PIECE” PRIZE
- International Composition Competition, Los Angeles (USA), 1st PRIZE (the jury
gave no 2nd and 3rd prize)
2004 - National Organ Competition, Szeged, 1st PRIZE
2003 - First Zoltán Kodály National Organ Competition, Budapest, 2nd PRIZE, and
also a „PERFORMING PRIZE” for the performance of his Organ suite
(which he wrote at the age of 17)
2002 - First Béla Bartók National Composition Competition, Budapest, SPECIAL
Improvisation by András Gábor