On her concerts she plays classical pieces, jazz standards, world famous movie soundtracks and evergreens. Katica plays the violin and also sings and dances.
Katica Illényi - violinist, singer and dancer
Raised in a musical family
Born in Budapest, Hungary, Katica comes from a classical music family. Her first teacher was her father Ferenc Illényi (1935-2007), who played in the Hungarian State Opera House. He decided to bring up all his children to become musicians. Her mother was a special schoolteacher. She played the piano very well. The four Illényi siblings Katica, Ferenc, Anikó and Csaba started to play instruments at the age of three.
"My dad played in the Opera Orchestra. He used to take us to the Opera when we were young. In the interval we loved sitting in his place in the orchestra pit. If there were free seats we used to watch the performance from the front row. From there we could see the orchestra well".
Katica, the first years
From the young age of 12 she attended every year the international violin master courses called "Festival Tibor Varga" in Sion, Switzerland.
At the age of 14 she was admitted into the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest to the class of "special talents".
When she was 16 she spent one year as a student at the Music School (Musikhochschule) in Detmold, Germany and received an exemption for her young age.
During her college years in Hungary she wanted to sing and tap-dance as well. For years she studied classical singing and applied to the National Entertainment Centre where other styles of music were being taught: jazz, musicals, evergreens. Throughout these years she learned tap-dancing and acquired jazz dance and classical ballet skills.
In 1991 she obtained her masters degree in violin at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music.
From the very beginning of her career Katica played many operetta and musical roles, but always remained faithful to the violin. Besides classical music she trained herself in various genres like jazz, swing and world music. She discovered the uniqueness of the genres that she did not get to know through classical music.
Katica began her solo career in 2002. She has since then given successful concerts every year, always with a new repertoire in the style of classical and jazz music.
Her debut album "Premier" was released in 2003 for which she received the eMeRTon award from the Hungarian National Radio Broadcasting Company.
In 2004 she was on stage with a new repertoire in which she mainly played favourites of Stéphane Grappelli. On that occasion, she played together with her brother, Csaba. Her second solo album originates from that concert recording with the title: "Honeysuckle Rose"
"Throughout the years and even today I am amazed by the unique jazz violin improvisations of Stéphane Grappelli"
In 2005 and 2006 she gave several concerts with a new repertoire at the Palace of Arts in Budapest (National Concert Hall), where she played the most beautiful movie soundtracks, jazz standards, classical evergreens and many Grappelli adaptations. As a special feature she played J.S. Bach: Concerto For Two Violins in D Minor, together with her brother Csaba. This event was released on her third CD and her first concert DVD: "Concert at the Palace of Arts".
In the following years Katica received invitations from various classical music circles where she played Béla Bartók, Franz Lehár, Sarasate, Debussy, Saint Saens, Fritz Kreisler, De Falla, Tchaikovsky, Dvorak, Franz Liszt, Max Bruch, Georg Boulanger, Bach, Vivaldi, Spohr, etcetera.
In 2007 she gave several successful concerts at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music where she played classical pieces, world-famous soundtracks and jazz standards. Besides Italian tunes and French chansons, the most famous pieces of Michel Legrand, Ennio Morricone, John Williams and George Gershwin could be heard. That year her second concert DVD was released with the title: "Spring Concert at Franz Liszt Academy of Music".
2008 saw another excellent concert by Katica commemorating Stéphane Grappelli’s centenary year. Her sister Anikó Illényi was her special guest. This was also the year of a new album inspired by Stéphane Grappelli entitled: "The Jazzy Violin".
In 2009 she started her own original theatre series "Love Stories", which consist of famous movie soundtracks of the 1940s. Her third DVD was recorded and released with the title: "Love Stories"
In December 2010 her concert at the Palace of Arts in Budapest was recorded. The special guests at her concert were her 3 siblings. Her elder brother Ferenc, who is the first violinist at Houston Symphonic Orchestra, her younger brother Csaba, who is a violin graduate of the Vienna Academy of Music and her sister Aniko, who is first cellist of the Stadtorchester Winterthur in Switzerland, all played on that occasion. Katica was accompanied by the famous Hungarian Dohnanyi Symphony Orchestra with the conductor of the Hungarian National Theatre, István Silló. The recordings were being broadcasted by national and international TV channels. Of this concert a DVD has been released: "Katica Illényi: Sisters and brothers live at the Palace".
In 2011 Katica gave a number of classical and jazz concerts in Hungary and abroad. A concert with new repertoire was given in the Budapest Palace of Arts. Katica was accompanied by the Gyor Philharmonic Orchestra. Orchestrations were made especially for her. Of this concert video and audio recordings were made.
2012 Liszt Prize. On 15 March the Hungarian government awarded Katica the prestigious Ferenc Liszt Prize. It is the highest state award in the field of music.
She has been chosen to represent the Hungarian music culture on an international level. Her concerts are broadcasted by the state and regional TV channels. Her positive personality combined with her professional attitude and creativity are allowing classical and jazz music to reach a wide range of audiences.
Katica is an internationally acclaimed artist. Her videos on YouTube have already attracted more than 6 million visits.
"I like and respect classical music because it makes me calm. Light music entertains me. I am in balance in the field of music and in private life. Without being aware of it I endeavour to be in harmony both mentally and spiritually. For this I am grateful and happy" Katica Illényi
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