It is with great sadness that the Budapest Festival Orchestra must say goodbye to the Liszt-Prize-winning bassoonist József Vajda.
József Vajda was born in Zalaegerszeg on 26 August 1947. He completed his musical studies in Pécs and Budapest under György Keszler and Imre Rudas respectively. For 25 years, from 1970, he played first bassoon in the Hungarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. For over 20 years, he taught bassoon and chamber music at the Béla Bartók Conservatory of Music and various music camps, and he worked as senior lecturer at the Chamber Music Department of the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music for many years. He became a member of the Wind Quintet of the Radio Orchestra in 1975, helping them to win first prize at the Colmar International Chamber Music Competition in 1979. He made numerous vinyl and CD recordings. He gave regular performances with the Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra, was a member of the Austro-Hungarian Haydn Orchestra and was a frequent contributor to the Budapest Festival Orchestra’s concerts.
The Hungarian state awarded him the Liszt Prize in 1981 and the György Lehel Prize in 1999 for his outstanding contribution to music. József Vajda played the soundtrack to TV Maci (TV Teddy Bear), Hungary’s popular puppet character who would appear on TV before and after bedtime stories; the music was strung together from parts of József Pécsi’s ‘Dörmögő Dömötör at Farmer Istók’s Courtyard’. He passed away on 29 February, at the age of 68.
We would like to offer our sincere condolences to his family and friends; his memory will be cherished by Iván Fischer and all the members and staff of the BFO.