Choir life


All Rights Reserved!  - Choir of the Saint Stephen Basilica - 2006-2011.




The Choir of the Saint Stephen Basilica

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. The Choir of the Saint Stephen Basilica

Amongst old masterpieces, motettas, masses, oratories of Des Pres, Palestrina, Lassus, Gabrieli, Vivaldi, Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and Liszt, the choir also 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  Recordings.


László Fehér, Conductor

László Fehér, ConductorBorn 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 church music. 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 in 2006.







András Gábor Virágh - organist, composer

István Koloss, OrganistAndrás 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 America.

Mastercourses attended:
Ewald Kooiman (Amsterdam), Zsigmond Szathmáry (Freiburg), Antal Váradi (Stuttgart) – organ
József Ács (Eschweiler), Zsolt Gárdonyi (Würzburg), Miklós Maros (Stockholm), Nigel Osborne (Edinburgh) – composition

Prizes, awards:
2013 - Composition prize of the Hungarian Academy of Arts
2013 - „AURORA MUSIS AMICA” Composition PRIZE
2012 - International Composition Competition, Mürzzuschlag, 1st PRIZE
- Composition Competition of the Franz Liszt University of Music, Budapest, 2nd PRIZE, SPECIAL PRICE of the „Society of the Hungarian Contemporary Music”
- Composition Competition of the Franz Liszt University of Music, Budapest, 1st PRIZE, SPECIAL PRICES of the „Society of the Hungarian Contemporary Music”, and the
„Béla Bartók Memory House”
2009 - SCHOLARSHIP OF ARTS, Debrecen
2008 - Composition Competition of the Franz Liszt University of Music, Budapest, 1st PRIZE SPECIAL PRICE of the „Society of the Hungarian Contemporary Music”
- International Composition Competition, Oradea (Romania), 1st PRIZE (the jury gave no 2nd prize)
2006 - Singing Competition of the University of Theatre and Film, Budapest,
- 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 PRIZE

Improvisation by András Gábor Virágh: