Katica Illényi

(17 February 1968 Budapest)

eMeRTon, Artisjus, Franz Liszt Award winning Hungarian violin and theremin player

Artist of Merit of Hungary

Outstanding Artist of Hungary

Member of Hungarian Academy of Arts

Early life

She was born into a classical musical family. Her mother is a remedial school teacher, who plays the piano very well. Her father, Ferenc Illényi – Katica’s first teacher – played in the Hungarian State Opera House. He decided to bring up all four of his children to become musicians. Since the age of 3, hours of practice was a natural thing for Katica and her three siblings; Ferenc, Anikó and Csaba.

At the age of 14 she was admitted to the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest, to the class of “special talents”. Her teacher was Dénes Kovács. She graduated at the Béla Bartók Secondary School of Music. During university (Franz Liszt Academy of Music), she already played in the orchestra of the Hungarian State Opera and Erkel Theatre. In 1991 she obtained her master’s degree in violin at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music.


As a newly graduated violinist, she felt that the boundaries of classical music were too tight. She wanted to play with her whole being. Therefore, she decided that besides playing the violin, she will also sing and dance. She started to attend phonation classes and her voice became her second instrument. Beside all of that she also learned acting, and tap dancing. Very unusual from a violinist, but in her early years she played the main roles in plays and musicals in which of course the violin played a very important part.

Meanwhile, she started to get acquainted with the “lighter” genre of music such as jazz, swing. She searched for the style specialties in world music, which she didn’t come across in classical music.

From 1996 to 2002, she was the singer and violinist of the Budapest Klezmer Band.

1999 was a turning point in her life, when she was invited to perform in solo in different television shows. Since then, she gives self-organized concerts, one-woman shows each year, always with a new repertoire, mixing classical pieces, jazz and easy listening music. At her concerts, gems of classical music, movie soundtracks, well known jazz and Broadway melodies can be heard.

Next to Bach, Csajkovszkij, Paganini, Dvořák, Gershwin, Morricone, Michel Legrand and John Williams, Hungarian composers Béla Bartók, Zoltán Kodály, Franz Liszt and Leó Weiner pieces are played also.

She introduced a mysterious instrument, called Theremin to her audience on the 4th of January 2014. at her New Year’s Eve concert which took place at The Palace of Arts Béla Bartók Concert Hall.

The Theremin is a mysterious instrument, because it doesn’t need to be touched while playing.

Out of the few Theremin players in the world, Katica is the only Hungarian artist who plays this instrument in concert.


Next to classical music, she is committed to high quality popular music. At her concerts, she sings, plays the violin, the theremin and she also tap-dances. With entertaining anecdotes, she pilots her audience from one music genre to an other. Entertainment, interactive communication with the audience are her prime elements. Her goal is to acquainting quality music with the listeners.

„I believe it’s not true that people don’t like classical music, they just don’t know it.“

Her versatile performances prove that there is interoperability between the different genres of music and it builds a bridge between the different cultures.

Her positive personality, professional competence, work and reputation allows her to spread Hungarian composer‘s music, classical music, sophisticated jazz and quality popular music to broad social layers.

Her purpose is to enhance the long-established reputation of the Hungarian musical culture internationally.

She was chosen to be one of the artists to represent Hungarian culture worldwide.

Since 2014, Member of the Music Department of the Hungarian Academy of Arts.


At her charity concerts, she draws attention to the importance of how much we depend on each other, the importance of selfless help. She participated in City Mission in Budapest by the request of the Catholic Church. At Győr, the Evangelic Lutheran Church invited her to help the work of the Red Cross.

Personal life

Katica has three siblings, who are also musicians. In 2010, they gave a concert at the Palace of Arts (Budapest), accompanied by the Dohnányi Orchestra Budafok.

Anikó Illényi – principal cellist of Musikkollegium Winterthur, Switzerland

Ferenc Illényi – violinist Houston Symphony Orchestra, USA

Csaba Illényi – violinist, graduated of the Vienna Academy of Music


Hungary’s Outstanding Artist 2020

Artist of Merit of Hungary 2015

Franz Liszt Award 2014

Artisjus award 2010 (Society Artisjus, is the association of music composers, songwriters, authors, writers, poets and music publishers.)

eMeRTon Award 2002 ( Hungarian National Radio)

Music studies

1991 Franz Liszt Academy of Music classical violinist / violinist teacher degree

1986 – 1991. Franz Liszt Academy of Music

1982 -1986 Franz Liszt Academy of Music, preparatory school – class for special talents, Teacher: Dénes Kovács

1982 – 1986 Béla Bartók Music School – general education studies, music studies at Franz Liszt Academy of Arts

1984 – 1985 despite her young age she was admitted to study at Detmold Music College, Musikhochschule Detmold in West Germany

Teacher: Tibor Varga

1980 – 1981 Switzerland / Sion, – international „Festival Tibor Varga” violin master class

1971 – 1982 violin studies – violin private student Teacher: Ferenc Illényi violinist of the Opera House in Budapest.

Started to play the violin at the age of 3.


2020. Jubilee Concert

2019. Lullaby – Beautiful Melodies by Contemporary composers

2018. Tango Classic

2017. Katica Illényi & Friends

2016. New Year Concert at Royal Ballroom with Budapest Strings

2015. Around the World in 80 days

2014. Live in Budapest

2014. The Stéphane Grappelli Tribute

2014. Live at the Thália Theatre

2013. Reloaded Jazzy Violin

2013. World Famous Movie Songs and Evergreens

2012. Around the World with a Violin

2012. Classic violin

2012. Katica Illényi – Sisters and Brothers at the Palace of Arts, Budapest

2010. Songs of Love

2008. The Jazzy Violin

2007. Spring Concert at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music, Budapest

2006. Live at the Palace of Arts Budapest

2005. Honeysuckle rose

2002. Premier


2019. Jubilee Concert – Budapest Congress Center

2018. Tango Classic, Celebration Hall of Vigadó

2017. Katica Illényi & Friends Budapest Congress Center

2016. New Year Concert at Royal Ballroom with Budapest Strings

2015. New Years Concert – Around the World in 80 days

2014. Palace of Arts Budapest Béla Bartók National Concert Hall

2011. Live in Budapest, Palace of Arts, Béla Bartók National Concert Hall

2010. Katica Illényi – Sisters and Brothers at the Palace of Arts, Béla Bartók National Concert Hall

2010. Concert at the Comedy Theatre Budapest with Judit Faludy and Miklós Szenthelyi & Hungarian Virtuoso Orchestra

2009. Love Songs, Tivoli Theatre

2008. Concert at the Thalia Theatre

2008. Stéphane Grappelli Tribute, Thalia Theatre

2007. Spring Concert at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music

2006. Concert at The Palace of Arts, Béla Bartók National Concert Hall


Yoga, StabilityTraining

Practicing yoga, StabilityTraining and bodyART regularly since 2007, has helped her to develop her flexibility, strength, concentration, endurance, sense of balance, stability, patience and awareness and skills that are the inevitable base of harmonic motion and consciousness.

She has been a vegetarian since 1996.


Official FB: https://www.facebook.com/katicaillenyiofficial

Homepage: https://www.katicaillenyi.com

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/katicaillenyi