Impromptu Concerts of Key West is offering two for one at the next performance the organization presents.
Hungarian guitar duo the Katona Twins will perform in Key West on Feb. 25 at 4 p.m. at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 401 Duval St. It’s the fourth of the 2018 Impromptu Concert season, which is celebrating the centennial of the late composer Leonard Bernstein, a frequent visitor to Key West.
Twins Peter and Zoltan Katona were born in Budapest, Hungary, where they began their music education at age 10. Their teacher had noticed that the boys had a talent for clapping back complicated rhythms, and so their mother requested they change to a school where, besides general subjects, they also received daily music instruction.
During communist times in Eastern Europe, politically influential composer and pedagogue Zoltan Kodaly convinced the Hungarian government that learning music was important and beneficial for the development and education of children and ultimately for the betterment of the country. Since only classical guitar education was available, the Katonas quickly learned to love the warm sound and challenging repertoire of this instrument.
Since that time the twins have studied both individually and as a guitar duo at the Bela Bartok Conservatory in Budapest, the Academy of Music in Kassel, Germany, and the University of Music and Performing Arts in Frankfurt. In 1995 they entered the Royal Academy of Music in London, from which they graduated.
During their studies, teachers introduced the two students to Julian Bream and John Williams. The wide repertoire of the duo ranges from Bach and Mozart to Piazzolla’s tango music and their own arrangements of pop classics.
Their performances often include concertos for two guitars and orchestra by Rodrigo, Vivaldi, Piazzolla and Tedesco while several composers have written and dedicated their works to them. In 1998, the Katona Twins won the Concert Artists Guild Competition in New York, which was followed by a tour of the United States, including their Carnegie Hall debut.
The artists were awarded the prestigious Borletti-Buitoni prize, the first for guitarists in the trust’s history. The twins also were resident artists of San Francisco Performances, an arts organization, from 2007 to 2011. The twins are now German citizens living in Liverpool, where the duo continues to play together with renowned musicians such as Yo-Yo Ma, pianist Kathryn Stott and world-class ensembles such as the BBC Concert Orchestra and the London Sinfonia.
At their Key West performance, the Katona Twins also plan to perform selections from “West Side Story” by Bernstein; “Dance of the Miller” by Manuel de Falla; “Mallorca by Isaac Albeniz Asturias; excerpts from “Tango Suite” by Astor Piazzolla; “The Brothers Karamazov” by Bronislaw Kaper; a Beatles medley; and more.
Tickets for the concert cost $20, and are available at www.keystix.com or at the door on the afternoon of the event. Cash, checks or credit/debit cards accepted. Students are admitted free. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.