Acclaimed for her musical intellect and imagination coupled with technical virtuosity, Ildikó Szabó is a laureate of the 2014 Pablo Casals International Cello Competition where she was the winner of the overall 2nd Prize, the Audience Award, and 7 Special Prizes. She is also a top prize winner of the German Music Competition, TONALi, Popper International Competition, Janigro International Competition, and Liezen International Competition. In 2013 she was awarded the Junior Prima Prize as the best young artist of the year.
Already established in her native Hungary, Ildikó Szabó has appeared as a soloist with the Budapest Festival Orchestra under Iván Fischer, the Hungarian Radio Orchestra, the Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra, the Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra, Concerto Budapest, and the Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic Orchestra. The 2018/19 season includes performances of Shostakovich Cello Concerto No. 2 with Magdeburgische Philharmonie in Berlin and the Miklós Rózsa Concerto Op.32 with Concerto Budapest.
In April 2017 Ildikó Szabó made her recital debut at the Berlin Konzerthaus, invited by her mentor Sir Alfred Brendel to open the Festival “Hommage an Alfred Brendel”; in July of the same year she was invited to open the Zemplén Festival in Hungary with the Dohnányi Orchestra Budafok, while in September 2017 Szabó returned to Prussia Cove for a concert with Prof. Ferenc Rados. The 2017/18 season also included a series of over thirty recitals and chamber music concerts in venues throughout Germany including the NDR Hannover and Beethovenhaus in Bonn, as a laureate of the German Music Competition. In addition, she returned to the Liszt Academy in Budapest for a complete Brahms Trio cycle and made her debut at the Hay Festival in the UK, as part of the BBC Radio 3 showcase, presenting the British Premiere of the Dora Pejačević cello sonata. In January 2019, having been awarded the special prize for the best interpretation of the commissioned work at the Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy Competition in Berlin, she premiered Christian Jost’s commissioned work for solo cello at the Konzerthaus Berlin. Her interest in working with living composers has led her to collaborate with Péter Eötvös and György Kurtág.
Invited to world leading music festivals, in August 2018, Ildikó Szabó made her debut at the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival was invited to the Gstaad String Academy and appeared at the Mendelssohn Festival with Hamburger Symphoniker. Debut at the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Festspiele will follow in 2019. Previous festival invitations have included the Verbier Festival, The International Holland Music Sessions, Heidelberger Frühling, Rheingau Festival, and the Budapest Spring Festival. She was invited twice to the Krzyzowa Chamber Music Festival and the Prussia Cove International Musicians Seminar and was a Festival Fellow at the 2016 Piatigorsky Cello Festival in Los Angeles.
Ildikó Szabó has recorded two CDs for Hungaroton Classic. “Dances of the Elves”, recorded when she was 14, presents a collection of virtuosic pieces. The second, a collaboration with her father, cellist Peter Szabó and conductor Zsolt Hamar released in 2014, brings back to life the music of Pablo Casals’ friend and favourite composer, Emanuel Moór. Her next project to be recorded in February, March 2019 focuses 20th and 21st century Hungarian music for solo cello featuring works by Kodály, Ligeti, Csaba Szabó, Kurtág and Eötvös.
Ildikó Szabó attended the Exceptional Talents’ Class at the Liszt Academy Budapest from the age of 11, while studying every summer with the late János Starker, and subsequently went on to study under Jens Peter Maintz at the Berlin University of the Arts where she was awarded a Master’s degree in 2018. She is currently studying for a Konzertexamen with Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt at the Hochschule für Musik in Weimar. Ildikó Szabó is a scholarship holder of the Study Foundation of the German Nation currently plays an Antonio Sgarbi cello (Rome, 1894), generously loaned by the German Foundation of Musical Life.
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