Since settling in Glasgow in 1980, Gusztáv Fenyő has been one of Scotland’s leading musicians. He is well-known for his cycles of works by one composer, including Beethoven’s 32 Sonatas, which he performed in both Glasgow (RSAMD) and Edinburgh (Queen’s Hall) in 1990; in 2019/2020 he is performing the cycle again in Scotland and Hungary.
In 1999, to mark the 150th anniversary of the composer’s death, he performed the complete solo piano works of Chopin in Glasgow, opposite the venue where Chopin himself played in 1848. In 2006 he gave the first complete Glasgow performance of Shostakovich’s 24 Preludes & Fugues at the refurbished City Halls, in celebration of the composer’s centenary. He returned in 2018 to perform the cycle in tandem with Bach’s 48 Preludes & Fugues, the source of Shostakovich’s inspiration.
Related to the great Hungarian violinist, Joseph Joachim, Gusztáv Fenyő first came into prominence as a teenager when he won the Australian Broadcasting Commission’s annual concerto competition playing Liszt’s E flat concerto. Following a period of study in London with Schnabel’s disciple, Maria Curcio, he continued his studies under Pál Kadosa and Vilmos Tátrai at the Liszt Academy in Budapest. While there, he gave numerous Hungarian premières by composers such as Stockhausen, Boulez, Xenakis, Cage and Takemitsu, as well as premièring works, some dedicated to him, by Hungarian composers, including Kurtág, Sári, Serei and Csapó.
At his London début at the Wigmore Hall in 1978, Gusztáv Fenyő premièred some of the ‘Games’ by the then barely-known Hungarian composer György Kurtág. He has also premièred works at other London venues, such as the Institute for Contemporary Arts, St John’s Smith Square and the Cadogan Hall, including works by Goeyvaerts, Vidovszky, Volans and Beat.
Gusztáv Fenyő has played a comprehensive solo, chamber and concerto repertoire, from Bach to the present day, in three continents. He has played nearly forty concertos, from Mozart and Beethoven to Bartók and Prokofiev: orchestras have included the Philharmonia (London), BBC Scottish, Hungarian Radio & Television, Bucharest Philharmonic, and the Sydney and Melbourne Symphony Orchestras, under conductors such as Frémaux, Osawa, Iwaki and Fürst.
He has performed almost the entire chamber music repertoire: his regular partner has been violinist Susanne Stanzeleit, with whom he recorded Bartók’s complete works for violin and piano, including ‘Contrasts’ with Michael Collins, for ASV. Other chamber music partners have included Alexander Janiczek, Jack Liebeck, Ildikó Line, James Boyd, Roger Chase, Adrian Brendel, Raphael Wallfisch, Andrew Fuller, Gervase de Peyer, Zoltán Kocsis, Balázs Szokolay, Geraldine McGreevy and Jane Irwin. He has also accompanied a wide operatic repertoire, including a period as repetiteur at The Australian Opera where he worked with Dame Joan Sutherland, Dame Kiri te Kanawa and many others.
From 1980 to 1992 Gusztáv Fenyő was Lecturer of Piano at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (now RCS). He has also taught and performed at leading institutions and summer schools in the UK, Hungary, Slovakia, Australia, Mexico and USA, working alongside such distinguished teachers as Vesselin Paraschkevov and Felix Andrievsky.
In 1995 Gusztáv Fenyő formed Music-Makers with the aim of widening appreciation of the chamber music repertoire, initially inaugurating and directing, until 2010, the Scottish Borders’ summer chamber music festival, firstly at Ayton Castle, then at Paxton House, a partner-gallery of the National Galleries of Scotland. He also directed many other series and summer courses at venues in Scotland.
Gusztáv Fenyő has broadcast for the BBC, Australian Broadcasting Commission and Hungarian Radio, and his commercial recordings include works by Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt, Bartók, Delius, Goossens, Stanford, Dunhill, Bantock and Gyula Csapó.