Sunday, September 14, 2008

James Smith and Endre Balogh

“We were under the spell of a formidably brilliant artist.” (The London Times)

“Poise and assurance, technical precision, tonal refinement and personal charm.” (New York Times)

“ Dazzling technique and great gusts of temperament...eloquent master of his instrument.” (Los Angeles Times)

Endre Balogh Bio:

Violinist and Photographer

On the occasion of his New York debut when he was only 16, the New York Times called Endre Balogh “a major new talent” and concluded that
“his accomplishments are nothing less than prodigious”. In the fall of 1973 his first European tour included concerts in Berlin and London.
The Die Welt critic declared that he “produces an inexplicably mature interpretation”, and the London Times reported, “the audience was well rewarded.
We were under the spell of a formidably brilliant artist”. He also performed in Austria, Holland, Italy and other countries with equal success.
His visits to England have included a one-hour recital in London for the BBC, and in Amsterdam a live, on-the-air radio recital.

Since his New York debut Endre Balogh (it is pronounced EN-dray BAL-og with the accents on the first syllables) has achieved an enviable reputation
on the international concert scene. He has appeared several times with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the symphony orchestras of
Washington D.C., Seattle, and Honolulu to name just a few, and is a well-known recitalist in the key cities of the United States.
His record in Europe is equally impressive. Because of his frequent performances in Germany he was engaged to play concerts with the Berlin Philharmonic.
Under Edo de Waart he also performed with the Rotterdam Philharmonic. The Frankfurt Symphony, the Tonhalle of Zürich, the Basel Symphony
and several orchestras in Holland and Yugoslavia, as well as numerous European recitals are also on the list of the artist’s list of notable credits.

Endre Balogh played concerts up until two weeks before he was born! His Hungarian mother had been a member of the Los Angeles Philharmonic for many years,
so his first exposure to music was a kind of prenatal osmosis. His Hungarian father, a chemist, also played the violin, so when Endre was only eleven days old
his picture appeared in the Los Angeles Times with the caption: “A Newly Arrived Violin Talent!” Unfortunately, his extreme youth was wasted in the dissolute pastimes of infancy,
and it was not until he was three and a half that his musical activities began in earnest. Under the nurturing care of his mother and the guidance of Joseph Piastro, his teacher,
he played nine public concerts at age four and his first concerto with orchestra when he was six.

Though his mother worked with him every day, other first-rate musicians were his mentors. For three years he studied with the well-known musician and pedagogue,
Manuel Compinsky. Then, when he played for Yehudi Menuhin, he was awarded the first full scholarship ever given for study at the great masters school in London.
He accepted the honor and spent a season in England; but as a child of nine, the distance from home and family became intolerable.
He returned to America and began work with Mehli Mehta, the esteemed father of Zubin Mehta. Under his skillful training, the artist soon won both the First Prize and
Grand Prize in the Denver Symphony Solo Competition and the top violin prize in the prestigious Meriweather Post Competition — all at age 13!
At 15, he gave his debut recital in Los Angeles and the following year marked his New York debut.
He eventually also did advanced coaching with the renowned violinist Henryk Szeryng.

As soloist with orchestra, he has performed with such eminent conductors as Zubin Mehta, James De Priest, Lawrence Foster, Henry Lewis, Vladimir Golschmann,
Erich Kunzel, and Christoph von Dohnányi. He appeared as guest soloist with the American Youth Symphony, conducted by the late Mehli Mehta,
in more than a dozen different violin concertos.At a very young age, he became enthralled with chamber music. As a result, he has been the recipient of several
Coleman Chamber Music Awards and has made music with such luminaries as Vladimir Horowitz and Leonard Pennario.
In 1993 he performed with André Watts in the critically acclaimed series of chamber concerts, “André Watts and Friends.”
He also founded and toured with the Pacific Trio for nearly 30 years in regular performances throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe.

Currently he performs frequently with his friend and colleague, James Smith – head of the Guitar Department at USC.
Over the years they have amassed a unique body of repertoire consisting of original and arranged works for violin and guitar.
Lately he has also explored the rich Violin and Viola Duo literature with the fine violist Steven Gordon as well as joining forces with cellist Dennis Karmazyn
and pianist Genevieve Lee to perform Piano Trios and Quartets.

In a slightly different vein, he performed the solo violin background score to Dennis Prager’s film documentary “Israel In A Time Of Terror”,
which focuses on the heroic strength of everyday Israelis in coping with the Palestinian terror bombings.
Recently, Endre was asked by the nationally known repertory company “A Noise Within” to compose original music for their repertory run of Shakespeare’s “The Winter’s Tale”. Throughout their 40 performance run, Endre played his music as a costumed character in the play, garnering unanimous audience enthusiasm and critical acclaim.

In 2004, after severely curtailing his touring concert schedule in order to spend more time with his children, Endre rapidly began to hone his passion for photography.
It wasn’t long before he was winning top awards in contests and his unique aesthetic vision and reputation for consistently beautiful work soon earned him
an enviable reputation among his photographic colleagues. His photos are prominently displayed in the collections of several connoisseurs of fine photographic arts.
In 2007 he was honored with a one man gallery showing of 47 of his photographs at the Karpeles Museum in Santa Barbara, California.
Following that, two of his photographs were chosen for inclusion in the prestigious Santa Barbara “Art Walk” exhibition. Then, in late 2007 one of his photographs
was chosen from among 3000 submissions by the Curator of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art to be among the 87 pieces displayed in the
2007 “International Art Of Digital” exhibition. Additionally, he has been commissioned to create commercial graphics projects.
Most notably, after being hired to provide the solo violin tracks for a CD of new music, the composer asked Endre to also create the cover art.
The resulting design for “A World Unseen – Music by David Sudaley” was described as “…by far the most beautiful album cover we’ve ever seen!” by the publishers.
His constantly expanding gallery of photos can be seen and purchased at his online gallery:

Above all, he is devoted to his wife, Mona, and his four delightful children, Csilla, Antal, Katalin, and Eva.


James Smith is chairman of the Classical Guitar Department at the University of Southern California, where he is an Associate Professor of Music.
His students include prizewinners in national and international competitions, and two ensembles trained at the university, the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet and
the Falla Trio, have successful professional careers. He has given masterclasses at the Manhattan School of Music, Eastman, Yale, and the
New England and San Francisco Conservatories, to name a few. Smith is very active as a performer, and has given recitals throughout the Americas and Asia.
He is an expert chamber musician, and performs frequently with the Bel Arts Trio (David Shostac, flutist, John Walz, cellist), Canto Claro (Sun Young Kim, soprano),
Windwood (Douglas Masek, winds) and with guitarist Dusan Bogdanovic and violinist Endre Balogh. Mr. Smith has performed concertos and solos with the Glendale,
Marina del Ray, Long Beach, Antelope Valley, Topanga, Brentwood, Los Angeles Opera, and New Orleans Orchestras.

A highly skilled arranger, several of his works for four guitars are frequently played by the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, the North Carolina
and the Alexandria Guitar Quartets, and the LAGQ has recorded a number of them, including his arrangement of Brandenburg Concerto Nr. 6 by Bach.
Recordings with flutist David Shostac on Excelsior and Douglas Masek on Massax include numerous arrangements by Smith.
An ardent supporter of new music, Mr. Smith has given the first performances of works by Hartke, Crockett, Reich, Bogdanovic, Johanson, Musgrave,
Delerue, Leisner, and Linn, to name but a few, and his recordings for Orion and Protone records have first recordings of works by Schickele,
Pfister, Crockett and others. His solo playing is featured in the acclaimed movie Sleepy Time Gal starring Jacqueline Bisset.
He has been president of the Guitar Foundation of America, was on the advisory committee of the First American Guitar Congress, serves as a board
member of ASTA-LA, and has served as a judge for many international guitar competitions. He organized the Stotsenberg International
Classical Guitar Competition held at USC in 1996, an event that attracted superior guitarists from around the world. In 1986 he
organized the Andres Segovia Masterclasses and Commemorative, a two-week long tribute that was an event of historical significance.

"Masterful, insightful reading by Smith."- L.A.Times

"Smith played caressively [his] irresistible arrangements."- L.A.Times

"Smith's expert...stylings."- Bellevue, Washington, Journal-American

"Mastery of interpretation."- Portland, The Oregonian

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