April 10, 4:30 pm
Trust for Mutual Understanding

Join us for an evening with Hungarian guitarist Attila Szabó, performing solo suites from four centuries on the classical guitar. A musical bridge from early to contemporary: suites by great classics like Robert de Visee and Johann Sebastian Bach, followed by two modern guitar suites by Miklós Kocsár and Attila Szabó.

The suite, originating from the 17th century, became a very popular musical form of instrumental music. Though the musical forms have changed significantly throughout the centuries, dance music kept being the primary source of inspiration, since the suite originally was a loosely set progression of dance pieces of different rhythms and in tempi, usually performed in the same key.

Robert de Visée was ‘the Guitar Master of the King’, serving Louis XIV and then Louis XV in the French royal court. Composer, luthenist, theorbist and viol player, he published two books of guitar music, containing mostly suites in different keys. His Suite in D minor, from the 1686 Livre de Pieces pour la Guitarre is his most popular piece. The G minor suite BWV 995 by Johann Sebastian Bach was originally written for the chello (BWV 1011), but it was transcribed by the composer himself for the lute in 1727, later becoming a beloved piece of the guitarist’s repertoire, usually played in the key of A minor on the guitar.

Hungarian composer Miklós Kocsár (b. 1933) was a student of composer Ferenc Farkas at the Academy of Music in Budapest. He mostly composed chamber music and vocal pieces, often inspired by Hungarian poetry, attempting to break away from the constraints of tonality. His compositions testify of a heightened consciousness of form and balance. His Suite per chitarra (1986) is a rarely performed piece, reflecting on the tempo relations of this old musical form with the tools of modern music.

Miniatures from Transylvania, composed by the guitarist himself, based on Hungarian folk songs from Central Transylvania often sung and performed regularly by the small fork ensembles at folk dance gatherings. The rich variation of tempi and emotional content of these songs inspired a solo guitar suite, influenced by Béla Bartók’s piano renderings of Central European folk songs. As the last piece was finished in 2014, this will be the first public performance of the suite as a whole.

Born in Transylvania (Romania), Attila Szabó lives in Budapest, Hungary, where he works for the Hungarian Theatre Museum and Institute. He studied music at the Hermann László School of Music in Székesfehérvár and later at the Academy of Music Ernő Dohnányi in Veszprém. Presently he is a Fulbright visiting researcher at the CUNY Martin E. Segal Theatre Center in New York. His instrument was manufactured in 2004 by László Dunai, a Hungarian luthier and guitar teacher who is constantly experimenting with innovative ways to differ from the usual Spanish patterns of the classical guitar design.

Please RSVP by March 27. Space is limited.

6 West 48th Street, 12th Floor
New York, New York 10036–1802
Email: RSVP
Telephone: 212-843-0404