(Budapest, 5 November 1921 – Longpont-sur-Orge, 15 January 1994)
György Cziffra was born into a family of Gypsy musicians. His father, György Cziffra Snr., played the cimbalom. He started studying at the Liszt Academy at the age of eight, where his teachers included Ernő Dohnányi, Leó Weiner, Georges Ferenczy and Imre Keéri-Szántó. The young pianist attained a string of successes.
In 1943 he was called up and ordered to the front and in 1950 he was imprisoned for attempting to defect. In the wake of the 1956 Uprising he settled in Paris where he became the master of Romantic piano literature (Schubert, Chopin, Liszt, Brahms, Rachmaninov). His improvisational skills lifted him into the pantheon of the greatest pianists.
Georges Cziffra’s wonderful and unique career, his knowledge, personality and tireless work for young people remain an example to this day.
1956 Liszt Prize
1986 Honorary citizen of Kőszeg
1993 Officer Grade of the Légion d’honneur
1993 Honourable Order of the Cross of the Republic of Hungary