An artist of ”innate musicality” with a technical execution that belongs ”only to the greatest” (The Guardian), Hungarian violinist Barnabás Kelemen has captured the attention of the music world. With a repertoire that ranges from classical to contemporary music, Kelemen gave the Hungarian premieres of the Ligeti and Schnittke Violin Concertos as well as the Hungarian premiere and world premiere of violin works by Gubaidulina and Kurtág.
Barnabás Kelemen collaborates amongst others with the American Symphony, BBC Symphony, Budapest Festival, Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrücken, Helsinki Philharmonic, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Hungarian National Philharmonic, Indianapolis Symphony, Irish Chamber, Kioi Sinfonietta, Lahti Symphony, London Philharmonic, Malaysian Philharmonic, NDR Radiophilharmonie Hannover, Netherlands Radio, Norwegian Chamber, Philharmonia Auckland, Tapiola Sinfonietta and the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony orchestras. Barnabás Kelemen works with renowned conductors such as Olari Elts, Iván Fischer, Sascha Goetzel, Pietari Inkinen, Vladimir Jurowski, Tonu Kajuste, Zoltán Kocsis, Hannu Lintu, Michael Sanderling, Leif Segerstam, Dmitri Slobodeniouk, Masaaki Suzuki, Gábor Takács-Nagy and Krzysztof Urbánski. In play and lead engagements he appeared with the Budapest Festival Chamber Orchestra, Het Kamerorkest Brugge, Indianapolis Symphony, Norwegian Chamber Orchestra and Royal Concertgebouw Chamber Orchestra.
In recital Kelemen has performed with Zoltán Kocsis and Shai Wosner with whom he played recitals at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Bozar in Brussels and Carnegie Hall in New York. In 2010 he founded the Kelemen Quartet, which received a silver medal, audience prize and the Musica Viva Grand Prize at the Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition in 2011. In 2014 the Kelemen Quartet was awarded with the first prize at the Premio Paolo Borciani in Reggio Emilia.
Barnabás Kelemen’s varied discography has been received to critical acclaim, with his recording of Brahms’ Sonatas for Violin and Piano with Tamás Vásáry has won a Diapason d’Or, and that of Liszt’s complete works for Violin and Piano with Gergely Bogányi was awarded the Grand Prix du Disque 2001 by the International Liszt Society. His recording of Bartók’s Rhapsodies and Violin Concerto No. 2 with the Hungarian National Philharmonic and Zoltán Kocsis released by the Label Hungaroton winning the German Record Critics’ Award 2011 in the concerto category. Among his more recent recordings are also a live DVD of the complete Mozart Violin Concertos and CDs of Bartók’s Violin Concerto No. 1 with the Hungarian National Philharmonic and Zoltán Kocsis. A recital CD released by the Label Hungaroton with both Bartók Violin Sonatas with Zoltán Kocsis and Bartók’s Solo Sonata, received a Gramophone Award in the Chamber Music category 2013.
Born in Budapest in 1978, Barnabás Kelemen entered the Franz Liszt Music Academy at the age of eleven and later went on to become Third Prize Winner of the 2001 Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels and took First Prize at the International Violin Competition in Indianapolis in 2002. In recognition of his achievements the Hungarian government awarded him the Sándor Végh Prize in 2001, the Franz Liszt Prize in 2003, Rózsavölgyi Prize in 2003 and most recently the Kossuth Prize in 2012. Since 2005 he has been a professor at the Franz Liszt Music Academy Budapest and since 2014 a professor at the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz in Cologne, he is also a guest professor at Indiana University Bloomington.
He performs on a Guarneri del Gesú violin of 1742 (ex-Dénes Kovács), generously loaned by the State of Hungary.