Organists and Choirmasters
Our present Choirmaster
Péter Kováts was born in Pécs in 1979. He started his musical studies in the music school in Nagyatád at the age of 5. During this time he finished first or second in the piano, sol-fa and chamber music competitions in Somogy County on every participation. His first music teacher was József Kárpáti from 1992 to 1994 and he won two special prizes in the 1994 National Organ Competition in Salgótarján with his coaching, including the one for the best Bach performance. He completed his secondary education in the Music School of Vác. In 1998 he was admitted to the organ artist and teacher programme at the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music in Budapest where he graduated with honours in 2004. He had been a student of István Baróti, the late Organist and Choirmaster of the Esztergom Cathedral ever since the beginning of his studies.
From 2004 to 2008 he did postgraduate and improvisation studies at the Conservatoire de Reims and the Conservatoire de Saint-Maur, Paris, where he acquired two more degrees: a First Prize (Premier Prix d’Interpretation) in the class of Pierre Mea in 2005 in Paris and a Gold Medal in Improvisation in the famous improvisation class of Pierre Pincemaille in 2008, awarded with the unanimous decision of the final exam committee. (Médaille d’Or d’Improvisation á l’Unanimité).
He achieved significant success in several international competitions:
In 2007 he made the finals in improvisation in the Paris International Organ Competition, where the only prize was not awarded, but he received honourable mention.
In 2009 he was selected as the only artist in the category Interpretation and Improvisation in the International Organ Competition in St Albans, England, and he was awarded the Douglas May Prize for his Tournemire performance.
In the 2011 Liszt Year he won the Weimar International Bach-Liszt Organ Competition.
The Hungarian audience has had the opportunity to listen to his performance in our major churches and concert halls on numerous occasions. Four of his concerts - his graduation concert in the Grand Hall of the Academy of Music 2004, the Liszt Recital in the Matthias Church in the Buda Castle 2004, the Concert of Young Organists in the Palace of Arts at the inauguration concert series of the new organ of the National Concert Hall 2006 and his recital in the Deák tér Lutheran Church in the 23rd Budapest Bach Week 2012 - were broadcast by Bartók Rádió.
He also played with orchestras, such as the Symphony Orchestra of the Academy of Music, the the MATÁV Symphony Orchestra, the Szeged Symphony Orchestra, the Solti György Chamber Orchestra and the Erdődy Chamber Orchestra.
In the summer of 2010 he played the organ at the inauguration ceremonies of the first organ built in French Baroque style in Hungary, in Zamárdi.
He composed film music too, for the nature film series ‘Jelfák (Sign Trees)’ by cinematographer Tamás Szabados in 2002, which was shown several times on Duna Television.
He also gave concerts abroad, in Germany Italy, Serbia and France.
His 2012 concert in Nuremberg was recorded and broadcast by Radio Bavaria.
As a church musician, he played at the St Maurice Church, Reims during his postgraduate studies, and he got regular invitations to well-known churches, including Saint Denis Cathedral, and the churches of Saint Vincent de Paul and Notre Dame de l’Assomption.
Since the summer of 2012 he has been the organist of the Cathedral of Esztergom, alongside his teacher, and since the death of István Baróti, his appointed successor.
István Baróti (24.10. 1940 - 23.06. 2014)
Organ Artist, Choirmaster
István Baróti was born in Csíkszentdomokos in 1940. He graduated as an organ player and a teacher at the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music, Budapest in 1967 as the student of Sebestyén Pécsi and Ferenc Gergely.
During his educational work of four decades in the Járdányi Pál Music School in district 2 Budapest, he set off generations of young organist on their path. Many of his students were admitted to the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music directly after their beginner level in music education and performed regularly in national and international music competitions with success.
He was a teacher at the College of Theology of the Esztergom Archdiocese from 1980 and at the Church Music Faculty of the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music from 1992. He worked as Organist and Choirmaster of the Cathedral of Esztergom from 1975 until his death. He was the originator and designer of the reconstructed organ of the Cathedral.
István Baróti conducted the Esztergom Mass of Liszt as Choirmaster of the Strigonium Choir of the Basilica on round anniversaries of the consecration of the Cathedral. The event was broadcast live on the Hungarian Radio in 1986. With his choirs he regularly performed the other Masses and several motets of Liszt as well.
He was one of the most significant interpreters of the works of Liszt with a religious theme. His repertoire included all organ works of Liszt and he prepared an arrangement of his piano piece Funerailles. Besides his concerts in Hungary, he also performed in several European countries (Germany, France, Romania, the Czech Republic, Italy, Austria)
As an organ expert, he participated in the full survey of the organs of Hungary (1985-1988) and in the design of several organs. Besides supervising the ongoing reconstruction of the organ of the Esztergom Basilica, he was the designer and the art expert of the construction of the organ of the National Concert Hall as well.
He lies buried in the Crypt of the Basilica.