Ildikó Szabó



"... an exceptionally gifted young cellist."

János Starker


Acclaimed for her musical intellect and imagination coupled with technical virtuosity, Ildikó Szabó is a laureate of the Pablo Casals International Cello Competition in 2014 where she was the winner of the 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.

Already established in her native Hungary, in 2013 she was awarded the Junior Prima Prize as the Best Young Artist of the year. Ildikó has appeared as a soloist with the Budapest Festival Orchestra under Iván Fischer, the Hungarian Radio Orchestra, the Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra. Invited to major music festivals she made her debut at Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern in 2019, the BBC at Hay Festival, the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, and the Mendelssohn Festival with Hamburger Symphoniker in 2018. The 2017/18 season included over thirty recitals throughout Germany, while at the invitation of Steven Isserlis she returned to Prussia Cove to perform with Ferenc Rados. In 2017 she made her recital debut at the Berlin Konzerthaus, invited by her mentor Sir Alfred Brendel. Previous festival invitations have included the Verbier Festival, Holland Music Sessions, Heidelberger Frühling, Rheingau Festival, Krzyzowa Music, Piatigorsky Cello Festival Los Angeles.

lldikó has a particular affinity with music of the 20th and 21st century. The 2018/19 season included performances of Shostakovich Concerto No. 2 with Magdeburgische Philharmonie in Berlin and she played the Budapest Premiere of the Miklós Rózsa Concerto with Concerto Budapest. In 2019 she was awarded the Special Prize for Best Interpretation of the Commissioned Work at the Mendelssohn Competition and premiered Christian Jost’s Lautlos II for solo cello, at the Konzerthaus Berlin. In 2019/20 she will be performing János Vajda’s Concerto with the Dohnányi Orchestra in celebration of the composer 70th birthday, and she will be premiering Gualterio Dazzi’s “Boulevard de la Dordogne” conducted by Corinna Niemeyer. Ildikó will also return to the Liszt Academy in Budapest, for a Shostakovich-recital.

Working closely with leading living composers, her current recording dedicated to Hungarian music for solo cello will feature works by Péter Eötvös and György Kurtág as well as by Kodály, Ligeti and her grandfather Csaba Szabó. Scheduled for release on Hungaroton in 2020, it will be the third album in her discography. “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.

Ildikó Szabó attended the Exceptional Talents’ Class at the Liszt Academy Budapest from the age of 11, while studying every summer with János Starker, and 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. In addition to her studies, she will be taking over the assistance for the class in 2019/20. 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.

September, 2019 - This biography is to be reproduced without any changes, omissions or additions, unless expressly authorized by Ildikó Szabó. Please contact:

Projects & Recitals

The following recitals are examples of previously composed programmes, for you to browse and pick from.









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Victoria Rowsell
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