Katona Twins

 The classical world’s best known guitar duo  Daily Telegraph

The Programme:

GF Handel (arr. Katona) – Chaconne in G major, HWV 435

Peter Katona – Tarrega for Two: Alhambra Inspiration, Gran Vals, Capricho Arabe

Astor Piazzolla – Introducción – Otoño – Porteno

Peter Maxwell Davies – Farewell to Stromness

Django Reinhardt – Nuages, Minor Swing

Peter Katona – Albeniz for Two, Asturias

Peter Katona – Scandal (from the Karamazov Suite)

Stanley Myers – Cavatina (from The Deer Hunter)

Leonard Bernstein – From West Side Story: Maria, I feel Pretty, Mambo, Somewhere, America

To launch this year’s Festival we welcome versatile guitar duo Peter and Zoltán Katona. Effortlessly transferring from classical to popular genres, their unusual style combines classical, flamenco and finger-picking techniques with the energetic stage presence of lead guitarists. Their programme ‘From Handel to Hollywood’ features a wide variety of repertoire including compositions by Peter and pieces from their latest Hollywood & Swing CD.

About the Twins…

The Katona twins come from Budapest in Hungary and their musical education began at the age of ten after their music teacher noticed that they had a talent for clapping back complicated rhythms. It was in the communist times [in Hungary], but luckily for the twins [composer] Zoltán Kodaly was not just a great composer and a brilliant pedagogue, but also an influential person. He persuaded the Hungarian politicians that learning music was important and beneficial for the development and education of youngsters. His idea was that learning to play a musical instrument teaches you discipline and concentration, which would then spill over into the other subjects. They both began to play the guitar, initially sharing one instrument which was a good incentive to keep up with each other!  They continued their studies in Frankfurt and were inspired to start playing as a duo when they heard the Brazilian Assad Brothers perform in a concert in Germany. They then studied in London and have now lived in Liverpool for many years.

They have given recitals in the major concert venues throughout the world including performances at the Carnegie Hall, the Wigmore Hall, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Konzerthaus in Vienna, the Suntory Hall in Tokyo and the Philharmonie in Cologne. In 2009, as the soloists of the “Night of the Proms” they performed live to half a million people in arenas across Europe. The twins have won over ten international prizes at major competitions in New York, London, Germany, France and Hungary.

The wide repertoire of the duo spans from Bach to Piazzolla’s tango music and their own arrangements of pop classics. They regularly perform their own compositions and their programmes also include concertos for two guitars and orchestra by Rodrigo, Vivaldi, Piazzolla and Tedesco. Several contemporary composers have written for and dedicated works to the Katona Twins.

The Katona Twins have been invited on numerous occasions to record for the BBC and other international television and radio stations. They have played together with renowned musicians such as Yo-Yo Ma and world class ensembles such as the BBC Concert Orchestra and the London Sinfonietta. They have released several CDs with the Dutch Channel Classics label and the German Solo Musica label.

Their Hollywood and Swing Album was released in 2020 following an invitation to play a Hollywood-themed programme in Grafenegg, Austria. Zoltán and Peter write: “We quickly arranged a handful of well-known film music pieces and performed them along with some original compositions for two guitars by M C Tedesco, a prolific film music composer in the forties and fifties. We couldn’t omit the king of gypsy jazz: Django Reinhardt, whose compositions often enliven Hollywood films. The concert was a huge success and we received an unusually high number of requests for a film music themed record. From this, our Hollywood and Swing album was borne. Some of our choices of repertoire might seem over ambitious, especially when reducing the whole orchestral sound to two guitars. We hope nevertheless, that our interpretation of these iconic Hollywood film scores like The Deer Hunter or the beautiful tunes from the West Side Story will provide the listener with as much pleasure as we had playing them.”

 The Katona Twins share not only a staggering virtuoso technique but rather eerie powers of ensemble. Identical not only in good looks, but in their playing style and charming stage manner, Peter and Zoltán know how to make a good show.  The Times

There is an interesting interview with the twins Here .

The Katona Twins have a Website .

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