Csaba Erdélyi, Principal Viola of the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, was born in Budapest, Hungary. He made musical history in 1972, when he won the prestigious Carl Flesch Violin Competition with the viola – the first, and so far, only time. The Flesch Prize launched Erdélyi’s international career. In the same year, he was invited by Joseph Szigeti and Rudolph Serkin to the Marlboro Festival (USA) where he also worked with Pablo Casals.
A viola student of Pál Lukács, Yehudi Menuhin and Bruno Giuranna, Erdélyi became Menuhin’s partner performing concertos and chamber music together in several countries. Menuhin wrote to Benjamin Britten: “Erdélyi is an invaluable link between the two great musical cultures of Eastern and Western Europe.”
As a soloist, Csaba Erdélyi has recorded for Concordance, Decca, Hungaroton, Lyrita, Nimbus and Philips records. He was the viola soloist in the film score of AMADEUS, with Sir Neville Marriner conducting the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields. He has played viola concertos with the leading British orchestras in the Royal Festival Hall and on the BBC Promenade Concerts, as well as in major international music festivals.
Erdélyi has performed in concerts and recordings with such world-renowned soloists as Rachel Barton, Joshua Bell, Maurice Gendron, Franco Gulli, Ian Hobson, Yo-Yo Ma, George Malcolm, Yehudi Menuhin, Jessye Norman, András Schiff, Sándor Végh. Csaba Erdélyi was Principal Viola of the Philharmonia Orchestra of London from 1974 to 1978 under principal conductor, Riccardo Muti and chief guest conductor, Lorin Maazel. He was guest principal violist of the BBC Symphony, invited by Gennady Rozhdestvensky.
Csaba Erdélyi was the viola player of the London-based Chilingirian Quartet, one of the world’s most celebrated and widely travelled ensembles (1980-1987). Their recordings can be found on EMI and CRD labels. Professor Erdélyi has a reputation as an extremely dedicated and caring pedagogue who attracts fine students from all over the world. In the USA he taught at Indiana University, Rice University, Butler University, Bowling Green State University as professor of viola and chamber music. A large number of Professor Erdélyi’s former students can be found in prestigious positions in music performance and education all over the world.
For over 20 years, Csaba Erdélyi researched the original manuscript of the Bartók Viola Concerto, the composer’s last masterpiece left in its first draft. He corrected the mistakes of the first edition and with the help of world-renowned Bartók scholar, Elliott Antokoletz as well as composer, György Kurtág, he restored and orchestrated the work in the purest and most authentic manner. Former violist of the Kolisch-quartet, Eugene Lehner, friend of Bartók, praised Erdélyi’s score and recording as “an invaluable service to Bartók and all violists.” The full score and viola-piano reduction are published by Promethean Editions (www.prometheaneditions.com), and a CD was recorded in 2001 with Erdélyi and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra with conductor Marc Taddei on Concordance label (www.concordance.co.nz) which continues to receive worldwide professional acclaim.
Csaba Erdélyi considers himself a world citizen and holds citizenships in his native Hungary, Great Britain and the United States. His favorite instrument is a magnificent viola made for him by master luthier Joseph Curtin in Ann Arbor, Michigan.