JÁNOS SEBESTYÉN
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April 2020
The April 2020 issue of the American magazine The Diapason features an essay written for the forthcoming CD publication of János Sebestyén's five LP recordings originally published by the Italian label Angelicum.

 
March 2020
The Danish CD label Danacord has released a selection of previously unpublished recordings by János Sebestyén. The CD is available internationally from ArkivMusic (USA), HMV (Japan) and JPC (Germany).

Jesper Buhl, Danacord's founder, tells the story behind these recordings:

In the autumn of 1984 I was introduced to the 1931 Hungarian-born Professor János Sebestyén at a social gathering in Copenhagen. Not only was János Sebestyén one of the leading musicians in the world and an extensive recording artist, but also one of the most approachable, and generous of human beings. In his capacity as organist, pianist and harpsichordist he needs no further introduction. At a later meeting János Sebestyén gave me as a present a short master-tape with various organ works he in May 1984 recorded in the German Stuttgart-Feuerbach church using the brand new 1983 Johannes Rohlf organ. We discussed possible future recording projects to fill out music for an LP, using some of the high standard Danish organs, which sadly never came to fruition. In 2012 János Sebestyén passed away. Here is the first release of those tapes with two short pieces by Pasquini and Martini and the Pastorale by Bach.

The release is a small token of gratitude to that Hungarian icon of music.

 
October 2018
Marco Taio, Italian guitarist and sound engineer, is currently remastering the original tapes for János Sebestyén's recordings published by the Angelicum label in Milan during the 1960s and 70s. All of these tapes were recorded by Sebestyén's close friend, the highly regarded sound engineer Thomas Gallia. Details regarding this project and possible forthcoming CD release will be available on this page. Taio's label, Open Reel Records, specializes in producing audiophile reel-to-reel tapes.

 
September 2018
Miklós Spányi played János Sebestyén's Sperrhake harpsichord on 22 September at the BMC Concert Hall in Budapest for a concert with his ensemble Concerto Armonico. The program, devoted to music by C. P. E. Bach, featured two harpsichord concertos, a symphony and solo keyboard sonata. A second concert, featuring two concertos, a solo sonata and sonata for violin and harpsichord, took place 10 February 2019.

 
February 2018
Miklós Spányi will play János Sebestyén's Sperrhake harpsichord at the Budapest Center of Architecture in a series of concerts devoted to Bach's French Suites. The first two concerts took place 11 February and 8 April. The final concert in the series took place 17 February 2019.

 
November 2015
Miklós Spányi, outstanding artist and former student of János Sebestyén, has patiently restored Sebestyén's Sperrhake harpsichord and in January played it for a new recording of Ferenc Farkas's Concertino for Harpsichord and String Orchestra to be published in March 2016 by Toccata Classics. He also played this special instrument at the Budapest Center of Architecture for the first three recitals in a series of four devoted to Parts I and II of Bach's Clavier-Übung. The recitals took place 1 March, 10 May, 13 September and 8 November.

 
August 2013

A concert given in memory of János Sebestyén by organist István Lantos took place 24 August at the Catholic Church in Balatonszemes, Hungary. Lantos, Sebestyén's partner at the organ and piano for more than 25 years, was joined by soprano Júlia Vajda, soloist of the Szeged National Theater. The evening was hosted by József P. Kovács and a reception followed at the residence of Mária Hegyessy.

 
July 2013
A new monument in memory of János Sebestyén and his parents, Sándor Sebestyén and Rózsi Mannaberg, was dedicated 2 July at Farkasrét Cemetary in Budapest. The ceremony, lead by József P. Kovács, was attended by a number of close friends and colleagues, including Éva Bató, Mária Hegyessy, Judit Hidasi, Éva Szilágyi, Erika Fodor, Klára Hrabéczy, Terézia Kungle, József Somogyvári, Sándor Mátyus and his wife Ágnes, Lóránt Kovács and his wife Mária, Ernő Tálas, Borbála Dobozy and Anikó Horváth.

 
February 2012
János Sebestyén's funeral service was held 24 February 2012 at Farkasrét Cemetery in Budapest.

A message from Dr. Judit Hidasi:

5 February 2012

Dear Friends,

It is difficult to find words to express what a great loss the music community has suffered, not only of Hungary, but the whole world, by those who loved and respected János as an outstanding artist and exceptional personality.

He passed away at 9:55 AM, Saturday, February 4, at Szt. János Hospital after a long struggle for his life – by both the doctors and himself. He had in parallel several diseases: multiple strokes, infarction, internal bleeding and pneumonia – just to mention the most important ones – out of which even one would have been enough to prove fatal, as one of the doctors summarized. With the exception of the final days he managed to stay conscious, and he himself was hoping for recovery to his last minutes. Ultimately it was his heart that ceased to function. As we all are aware – who had the privilege to know him and be his friends – he loved life and wanted to live and decided never to give up. He loved and cherished his friends, his pupils and his colleagues. He was not simply a man – he was an "institution" – and it is hard to believe that there will be no more Fillér utca concerts...

Peace with him at his eternal rest!

 
December 2011
The Hungarian music community has suffered the loss of one of its finest musicians. Zoltán Gyöngyössy, world famous flutist, lost his life in a car accident near Budapest on the afternoon of 29 December. He was one of the genuinely outstanding musicians of his country. With a particular fondness for contemporary music, many composers dedicated works to him, and he was a favorite performer of György Kurtág. He excelled in baroque and classical music as well, and collaborated with numerous chamber ensembles and orchestras. He belonged to the group of János Sebestyén's closest friends, which also includes the musicians István Lantos and Ernő Tálas; the four of them having performed together regularly throughout Hungary for more than a decade. A vigil was held 6 January at the Academy of Music in Budapest. János Sebestyén remembers Zoltán Gyöngyössy with this essay.

Dr. Otto Quittner, founder and president of Qualiton Imports, passed away 21 December 2011 at his home in New York City. He was born 16 June 1924 in Budapest and practiced law in Hungary before emigrating to the United States. In 1964 he established Qualiton as an import company for Hungarian classical recordings, later expanding the business to include the Czech label Supraphon and many other classical labels from throughout Europe. International music and several American labels were eventually added to the catalog. With the advent of CDs in the early 1980s, Qualiton was one of the first distributors to supply CDs to the North American market. Otto Quittner is survived by his wife Judith, vice-president of Qualiton, and daughter Anita. The Quittner's homes in New York and Budapest served as regular meeting places for musicians, artists and diplomats. He was an extremely intelligent and interesting man, and a good friend to János Sebestyén for more than 40 years. A funeral service was held 23 December.

 

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