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Vázsonyi, Bálint

Vázsonyi, Bálint

Vázsonyi, Bálint, distinguished Hungarian-born American pianist, writer, and lecturer; b. Budapest, March 7, 1936. He entered the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest as a youth. At age 12, he made his professional debut. In the wake of the abortive Hungarian Revolution in 1956, he fled his homeland and pursued training at the Vienna Academy of Music (1957-58) and with Dohnányi at Fla. State Univ. (1960). In 1964 he became a naturalized American citizen. His performance of all of Beethoven’s 32 piano sonatas presented in chronological order in N.Y. on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1, 1976, brought him wide recognition. In 1977 he made a transcontinental tour of the U.S. From 1978 to 1984 he was a prof, at the Ind. Univ. School of Music in Bloomington. In 1983 he founded Telemusic, Inc., in Bloomington, which he served as chief executive officer until 1998. In 1991 he was the Republican candidate for mayor of Bloomington, but was defeated by his Democratic opponent. In 1993 he became a senior fellow of the Potomac Foundation in McLean, Va., where he was made director of its Center for the American Founding in 1996. He has appeared on various radio and television programs as a defender of Conservative ideals. As a pianist, Vazsonyi’s playing is marked by a transcendental virtuosity of technique coupled with the mellow lyricism typical of the traditional Hungarian school of pianism. His writings include the standard biography of Dohnányi (Budapest, 1971), as well as the political tomes The Battle for America’s Soul (1995) and America’s 30 Years War: Who Is Winning? (1998).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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