The Kelemen Quartet (Barnabás Kelemen; Katalin Kokas; Gabor Homoky & Dóra Kokas) will perform at the Santa Cruz church on 25 January 2014 at 7.15 pm. The concert is free and open to the public. Cellist Dóra Kokas spoke to me for the local press.
Tell us a little about how the Kelemen quartet was formed in 2010. Did all the players meet when you were students?
Barnabas has always dreamt of having a quartet since he was eighteen. He met Katalin when they were 12 years old because they were both studying in the Franz Liszt Music Academy in Budapest. They are married and have two children since, and they all the time played together! I started to play the cello since I was five. Katalin is my sister so from the very beginning we all played together as a trio. Both Katalin and Barnabas are professors at the Franz Liszt Music Academy and that’s how they met Gabor. First He was studying with Barnabas and then with Katalin!
There was a concert series with their students for the Hungarian Classical Music Radio and that was the first time when we played with Gabor! We immediately felt a special connection, very comfortable and musically we “fitted” very well. This is how everything started!
I notice that two of you (Gabor Homoki and Katalin Kokas) play interchangeably violin as well as viola? How does this work? How do you decide who plays what instrument, and for which work or concert? Do you rotate the first violin spot too, or do just the second violin and viola swap?
Usually just the second violin and viola parts switch! In the very beginning Katalin played the viola most of the time but now Gabor does as well. Sometimes it depends on the repertoire but now in the new pieces we learn, Gabor plays viola and Katalin second violin.
Also sometimes Katalin plays first violin and Barnabas the viola! It’s not only exciting for the audience but also for us! In this way we get to know one piece more and more deeply. It is very different to play viola part and second violin part, which means that we also develop as players! Only I stay with the cello all the time!
Tell us a little about the concert programme in Goa.
We were thinking of choosing a programme which includes works from both the Classical and Romantic periods.
Mozart’s “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik” is fantastic, unique, and one of the most famous works of all time; anybody you ask knows the melody, so we hope that the audience will enjoy it.
Schubert’s “Death and the Maiden” was first on our list to learn, and this is one of the most famous works by Schubert. It is one of our favourites!
You released your debut CD in 2012 featuring works by Mozart and Bartok. Tell us about it
On our first CD, we definitely wanted to have a Hungarian piece. Bartok quartet No.5 was one of the first pieces we learnt as a quartet, so it is very special for us! And to combine Bartok with Mozart, it perfectly works! We usually do it in concerts as well, and have done so on this tour in Pune!
We are looking forward very much to playing in Goa!
(An edited version of this article was published in the Navhind Times Goa India on 21 January 2014)