Viking with a Hungarian Accent
However Hungarian by birth, Janos Solyom is by now an integral part of the musical history of Sweden, his adopted home-country for over four decades. This is not only due to his distinguished career as a concert pianist but also to his contributions to Swedish musical life as an educator and ”popularizer” of classical music. An imaginative approach to programming combined with countless radio and television shows over the years have firmly established Janos Solyom as one of Scandinavia’s most popular profiles in music, just as well-known to concert audiences as to immigration officers at Stockholm’s Arlanda Airport.
As one would expect of someone born 1938 in Budapest, Hungary, Janos Solyom is a straight-line descendant of the proud musical traditions of Liszt, Bartók and Ligeti. He studied piano, composition and conducting at the Bartók Conservatory and the Liszt Academy of Music under the most renowned teachers of the time: Arnold Székely, Kornél Zempléni, Lajos Hernádi, Leo Weiner, Ervin Major and János Viski. After having escaped Hungary as a result of the 1956 uprising Mr.Solyom settled down in Sweden.
Being only 18 at the time, he continued his studies for Ilona Kabos in London, Nadia Boulanger and Magda Tagliaferro in Paris His official debut in Sweden took place in 1958 with the Stockholm Philharmonic. Since then he has been touring extensively in Sweden, the rest of Scandinavia, in most parts of Europe, the Americas, Israel and China. He has also performed regularly on radio and television, especially for the BBC where he has been a regular for many years.
As a result of a 40-year career on the concert platform Janos Solyom has acquired one of the most extensive repertoires around, from Bach to Bartók, from Alkan to Gorecki. Some of his numerous recordings for EMI, CRD, Caprice and Artemis have become modern classics such as the 2nd Concerto by Stenhammar or the Rachmaninov Etudes-Tableaux.
In addition to his regular activities as pianist, conductor and TV-educator, Janos Solyom is also a music publicist and a well-nigh legendary improviser. He is a regular member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music and has been decorated by H.M. The King of Sweden for ”outstanding achievements in the cultural life of the country”.