L A D I E S A N D G E N T L E M E N ,
Everybody needs heroes, children and adults alike – after all, we all want to do good, to help or to create something long-lasting for our successors to build upon. A hero possesses something of the treasure we all seek. The fact that he shares his values with his fellow human beings instead of saving it all for himself bespeaks his greatness.
My hero is Georges Cziffra. He shines above my life and career like a guiding star. His spiritual legacy, his astounding musical talent, his integrity, and his selfless desire to help young musicians made him a legend in his lifetime. The Cziffra Festival is aiming to continue all that Georges Cziffra created and dreamed of in France: a series of concerts, master classes, musical competition and an opportunity for young performers to make themselves known to the audience.
I inaugurate the Festival in 2016 in the hope that you will receive it graciously and with as much pleasure as it is offered to you by all of the participants and organisers.
Georges (György) Cziffra
Budapest, 5 November 1921 –
Longpont-sur-Orge, 15 January 1994
World-renowned Hungarian-born pianist and piano virtuoso, Georges (György) Cziffra was born to a Gypsy musician family. His father, György Cziffra was a cimbalom player. Georges was admitted to Franz Liszt Academy of Music of Budapest at the age of 8, where his teachers were Ernő Dohnányi, Leó Weiner, György Ferenczy and Imre Keéri-Szántó. The young pianist scored success after success.
In 1943 he served on the front in the army. His attempt to escape from Hungary landed him in prison in 1950. After the 1956 uprising he settled in Paris. He became the acclaimed master pianist of the Romantic composers (Schubert, Chopin, Liszt, Brahms, Rachmaninov). His technique and skill as an improviser placed him among the greatest pianists. His brilliant and unique career, skills, knowledge and personality as well as his work to help young musicians are exemplary.
- 1956 Franz Liszt Award
- 1986 Honorary citizen of Kőszeg
- 1993 Officer of the Legion of Honour of France
- 1993 Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary, Commander Cross