Géza de Kresz

1st violin with the Quartet from 1924-1935

Hungarian violinist Geza de Kresz made his debut in Vienna in 1906, was concertmaster 1907-9 of the Vienna Tonkünstler Orchestra, and appeared as soloist with many European orchestras. In Bucharest 1909-15 he taught at the State Cons, was concertmaster of the Bucharest SO, and led the Carmen Sylva String Quartet, at the royal court of Rumania. He went to Berlin in 1915 and was concertmaster 1917-21 of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and a teacher 1919-23 at the Stern Cons. In 1918 he married the pianist Norah Drewett, with whom he gave duo-recitals after they moved - at the prompting of Boris Hambourg - to Toronto in 1923. The duo's first Canadian recital was in Massey Hall 30 Oct 1923; they toured Canada and continued to perform as a duo until 1951. De Kresz taught at the Hambourg Conservatory and played first violin in the Hart House String Quartet (until 1935). He appeared as soloist with the New SO and the TSO, was a member 1924-5 of the Hambourg Trio, and founded and conducted 1930-4 the Little Symphony, a chamber orchestra. He spent many summers in Europe teaching at the University of Vienna and at the Mozarteum in Salzburg and performing. He remained in Budapest 1935-47, teaching at the Liszt Academy of Music and the National Cons. As director of the latter 1941-7 he instituted one of the first high school curricula in Hungary to combine musical training with academic subjects. After World War II he adjudicated at several international competitions. In 1947 de Kresz and his wife returned to Toronto, where he taught at the RCMT, conducted courses in violin pedagogy, and, until 1955, continued to perform. A recital given in Toronto in May 1955 was recorded on a private label.

Ettore Mazzoleni said of him, 'Here was a musician of vital temperament, full of zest for life, and completely selfless where music, and those he admired, were concerned' (RCMT Monthly Bulletin, Nov-Dec 1959). Harry Adaskin, in A Fiddler's World, wrote that de Kresz had 'a good steady bow arm so that slow movements were beautifully played, very intellectually musical, and with a confident stage manner,' but added 'his most serious drawback was rhythmical unsteadiness and, since he had perfect pitch, he tended to sound out of tune'. A respected teacher, de Kresz included among his pupils Murray Adaskin, Arthur Garami, Flora Matheson Goulden, Betty-Jean Hagen, Clayton Hare, Adolf Koldofsky, Kayla Mitzel, Maurice Solway, Irene Diehl Thorolfson, and Margaret Wilson. Dora de Pedery Hunt designed a medallion in 1969 to mark the inauguration of the Géza de Kresz Memorial Scholarship Fund.

with thanks to the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada

Read more about Geza de Kresz from the Vasváry Collection Newsletters, article by Stephen Beszedits

Geza de Kresz | Milton Blackstone | Boris Hambourg | Harry Adaskin | James Levey | Adolph Koldofsky | Henry Milligan | Allard de Ridder | Cyril Glyde
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