János Négyesy

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Négyesy János
János Négyesy at the ICMC 2008
János Négyesy at the ICMC 2008
Background information
Birth nameNégyesy János
BornSeptember 13, 1938
Budapest, Hungary
DiedDecember 20, 2013
San Diego, California
Occupation(s)Violinist, Computer Painter, pedagogue
Years active1970 — 2013

János Négyesy (or Négyesy János, as should be written in Hungarian) was a Hungarian violinist with a particular interest in contemporary music. He performed world premieres of numerous works, the first two books of the Freeman Etudes (etudes I–XVI and XVII–XXXII) by American composer John Cage among others.[1] He was also the first European violinist who recorded the complete Violin and Piano Sonatas of Charles Ives (with pianist Cornelius Cardew).[2] He is the author of a teaching and reference book on violin techniques, which was commissioned after he met Pierre Boulez at IRCAM in 1976.[3] In 1979, he joined the faculty of the University of California at San Diego.[1]

He is also known for his computer paintings. He began doing these artworks after moving to San Diego, California.[1]


János Négyesy was born in Budapest, Hungary on September 13, 1938, and died on December 20, 2013. His father was taken by the Nazis to a concentration camp, from where he never returned. He got his first violin at the age of four, and only six months later he gave his first public concert at his school. According to him, this was the moment when he decided to become a violinist.[4] He later became a student of Ferenc Gábriel at the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music of Budapest, who introduced him to Tibor Varga, a former student of Gábriel before World War II. After receiving an invitation in 1965, Négyesy moved to Detmold and continued his studies with Varga.[5] From 1970 to 1974 he served as concertmaster of the Radio Berlin Orchestra,[6] which was led by Lorin Maazel at the time.[7] In 1976 he was invited by French composer Pierre Boulez to IRCAM for a week of performances.[2] This invitation resulted in a commission for Négyesy to write a book on violin techniques.

In 1979, while staying in Lisboa he received a phone call at 3 a.m. asking him if he would join the Music Department at UCSD. Later it turned out that this call changed his life: as of 2012,[8] he is an active teacher at UCSD. It was there in San Diego where he met Finnish violinist Päivikki Nykter, a former student of his, who became his wife in 1992.[4] During the past decades they made several recordings together, the complete violin duos of Béla Bartók[6] and compositions dedicated to them, among others.

There are several composers who dedicated pieces to Négyesy (probably the most notable is One6 by John Cage[9]) including Attila Bozay, Carlos Fariñas, Vinko Globokar, Georg Hajdu, Roger Reynolds, Robert Wittinger and Isang Yun.[1] He also has notable recordings of pieces of composers like John Cage, Morton Feldman or Kaija Saariaho. Recently he also became regarded as a master of Max Mathews' electronic violin.[6] János Negesy died on Friday, December 20, 2013.[10]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "About János Négyesy". Electronic Music Foundation. Archived from the original on August 20, 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-16.
  2. ^ a b "About János Négyesy". Lovely Music. Retrieved 2008-12-16.
  3. ^ "About János Négyesy". Hamburger Klangwerktage. Archived from the original on 2013-02-11. Retrieved 2008-12-16.
  4. ^ a b "Professor Professes Passion to Professor". La Jolla Light. 2004. Retrieved 2008-12-16.
  5. ^ Aradi, Péter (September 1998). "Az átmenet fesztiválja — report of the International Bartók Seminar of Szombathely, 1998". Muzsika (in Hungarian). Pro Musica Foundation. 9 (41): 5. Retrieved 2008-12-16.
  6. ^ a b c "About János Négyesy". Budapest Music Center. Retrieved 2008-12-16.
  7. ^ "History of the Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin". Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2008-12-16.
  8. ^ "UCSD Department of Music". Retrieved 2011-05-08.
  9. ^ Cage, John. "One6". Archived from the original on 2008-05-27. Retrieved 2009-01-12.
  10. ^ "János Négyesy dies at 75". UC San Diego, Department of Music. January 15, 2014. Retrieved 22 June 2015.

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