Excerpts from solo concerts
Hungarian guitar virtuoso Ferenc Snétberger takes his listeners on musical journeys of wonder and emotion through his very own sound world of classical and jazz music informed by native gypsy
tunes, flamenco guitar techniques, samba rhythms and revered J.S. Bach. His solo performances, made of his own compositions and lots of improvising, are different every night, but always
His ECM debut solo live album “In Concert” (2016), beautifully recorded at the hallowed Grand Hall of the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest and internationally acclaimed by both critics and audiences, perfectly reflects the unique listening experience audiences live at his concerts.
Ferenc Snétberger was born into a family of musicians in Northern Hungary and soon learned the guitar from his father. Initially influenced by jazz and Brazilian music, by Django Reinhardt and later by Egberto Gismonti in particular, he continued to study classical guitar (to discover his unbounded love for Johann Sebastian Bach), later jazz guitar at the Béla Bartók conservatory of Budapest.
Besides writing music for film and theatre productions, Ferenc Snétberger has been leader, co-leader or sideman on numerous albums and tours all over Europe, Asia and the United States, along with many outstanding musicians of international fame. He has also recorded and performed with trumpet player Markus Stockhausen, and in trio with Arild Andersen & Paolo Vinaccia (“Nomad”). His ECM debut solo live album “In Concert” (2016) was followed by the successful trio recording “Titok” (2017) with Anders Jormin and Joey Baron. His latest album “Hallgató”, wonderfully recorded with the illustrious Keller Quartet, was released on ECM New Series in 2021.
In contexts of classical music he has performed works such as Luciano Berio's Sequenza XI (for solo guitar) and concertos with orchestra by Vivaldi, Rodrigo and John McLaughlin. In 1995 he composed his own Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra "In Memory of My People" on occasion of the 50th year from the end of the holocaust. Inspired by melodies of the gypsy tradition, the concerto is a powerful statement against human suffering. It was performed by Snétberger himself with chamber orchestras in Hungary, Italy and Germany and also at the New York UN headquarters (International Holocaust Memorial Day, 2007), and he performed a solo version of the 1st movement "Hallgató" for the Solemn Ceremony on the International Holocaust Commemoration Day 2022 at the European Parliament in Brussels.
Ferenc Snétberger was appointed freeman of his birth town in 2002 and received the Hungarian Order of Merit two years later. In 2005, he was awarded the Liszt Ferenc Prize in Budapest; in 2014, the Kossuth Prize, the most prominent cultural award in Hungary. In November 2020 he received the German "Bundesverdienstkreuz" (Federal Cross of Merit), and in April 2022 the German Jazz Prize in the category 'Guitar'.
Snétberger has been hailed as one of the few genuinely distinctive voices on contemporary guitar, a border-crossing virtuoso of a rare kind, a musical cosmopolitan, who has developed an individual style that defies all common musical categorizing. A guitar magazine put it this way: "What he plays is jazz, is classical, is Brazil. Snétberger’s great art is the dialogue between today and yesterday, the synthesis.”