Introductory video of the Hungarian Radio Children’s Choir
The Hungarian Radio Children’s Choir was founded by Valéria Botka and László Csányi, who directed the life of the choir between 1955 and 1985. In 1985, the work was taken over by a trio of conductors: János Reményi became the principal conductor of the choir, while Lenke Igó and Gabriella Thész the assistant conductors. From 1995, Gabriella Thész acted as principal conductor and artistic director, in cooperation with László Norbert Nemes between 1997 and 2009. From 2012, the principal conductor and artistic director of the Hungarian Radio Children’s Choir was dr. László Matos. Sándor Kabdebó was assistant conductor until 2015. In 2019, Soma Dinyés has taken over the choir as the principal conductor, assisted by Judit Walter. Since 2023, Magdaléna Szűcs has been the assistant conductor. Katalin Körber Vargáné has been the conductor of the “Junior Choir” of the Hungarian Radio Children’s Choir since 2015.
Since 2000, the Zoltan Kodály Primary, Secondary and Music School has been acting as the home of the Hungarian Radio Children’s Choir, where children who gain admission to the choir can start and continue their studies in the “radio” classes.
The Children’s Choir has three structural divisions:
- “Junior Choir” (ages 8-12): within these early years, children learn the basics of choral singing, easy choral works, circle games, games related to folk customs, folk music, Christmas, Whitsun and wedding feast songs, with roleplay, movement and dance steps, and most of them meet the children works of famous Hungarian composers for the first time during these years.
- “Senior Choir” (ages 12-15): this is the choir’s performing choir, both in concerts and on tour. Their repertoire is constantly expanding to include music from Gregorian chant through Renaissance vocal polyphony to contemporary works. They also perform choral works by Bartók and Kodály regularly, and a big emphasis is placed on performing works by living composers.
- “Youth Mixed Choir” (ages 12-18): this division was created to involve boys from the “Senior Choir” whose voice has broken, as well as youth across all ages who are enthusiastic about the mixed choir sound and compositions. The choir’s repertoire includes all periods in music.
Please get an insight into the everyday life of the choir through the children-TV-series titled Irány a színpad! (Off to the stage!), created by M2:
- rész: https://youtu.be/CM1tiHPwq9M?si=1bWI_Kkv4GgXc_Nh
- rész: https://youtu.be/1Grbdt4brMs?si=_CVDy-slQOF0QXKX
- rész: https://youtu.be/ZoHInGBo4r8?si=417GSFWiILaGtM0P
- rész: https://youtu.be/xO-4xYjhELI?si=dY6-v7cCyFE7m42m
- rész: https://youtu.be/vBVbiYIBvqQ?si=HH1zKd7gytlmr6Gz
- rész: https://youtu.be/lwHZOk7iXUA?si=n7KvHbYSJCiJAVAX
- rész: https://youtu.be/7Vb53YYvT8U?si=m1QjBNFdfDWGFYWh
- rész: https://youtu.be/EJN9oze4L4I?si=AX13D0PN8IfqeOdX
As a member of the Hungarian Radio Art Groups, the Hungarian Radio Children’s Choir has worked with renowned musicians such as Luciano Berio, Semyon Bychkov, Myung-Whung Chung, José Cura, Dennis Russell Davies, Peter Maxwell Davies, Péter Eötvös, Ádám Fischer, Iván Fischer, Philip Glass, The King’s Singers, Ken-Ichiro Kobayashi, Zoltán Kocsis, Zoltán Peskó, Paul Sacher, András Schiff, György Solti, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Geoffrey Tate, and Tamás Vásáry.
As a holder of the Bartók-Pásztory Prize and the Príma Prize, the choir have for many years been a recognized and respected actor in music life in Hungary and abroad. They regularly participate in music festivals and other musical events in Hungary and various countries in Europe, and have made many radio and television recordings both in their home country and internationally. They have been invited to perform in almost every country in Europe, toured in the USA and Japan, and have also visited South Korea and China.
Some of the most important guest appearances abroad:
1988 La Scala (Milan) – world premiere of Karlheinz Stockhausen’s opera Montag aus Licht
1993 Geneva Contemporary Music Festival – works by Nicolo Castiglioni, Franco Donatoni
1996-97 Vienna Modern Music Festival
1999 Salzburg Festspiel, Flemish Festival
2000 Milano Musica – Luciano Berio: Ofanim, conducted by the composer
2002 Rome, inaugural concert of the Auditorium – Mahler Symphony No. 8
2003 Catania: Teatro Bellini, Florence: Teatro Pergola, Turin: Verdi Conservatoire
2004 Linz Bruckner Festival – Mahler Symphony No. 8
2005 Ravenna Festival – Berio: Ofanim
2007 Schleswig-Holstein Festival
2008 Milano Musica Festival
2008 Innsbruck, Linz European Capital of Culture Festival
2009 Saint Petersburg International Youth Choir Festival
2019 Brno, Praha, Bratislava
2022 Bratislava, Kosice
2023 Leipzig, Gewandhaus