The Hungarian-born German guitarists, Peter and Zoltán Katona, known as the Katona Twins, studied both individually and as a guitar duo with Ede Roth at the Béla Bartók Conservatory in Budapest, with Wolfgang Lendle at the Academy of Music in Kassel, and with Michael Teuchert at the Hochschule für Musik, Theater und Tanz (Frankfurt University of Music and Performing Arts), in Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany. In 1995 the twins entered the Royal Academy of Music in London to study with Michael Lewin and Tim Walker; they also participated in master-classes with Julian Bream and John Williams. They graduated with the Academy's highest award.
The Katona Twins have won numerous prizes, both individually and together. In 1993 they won first prize at the most prestigious duo-guitar competition in Montelimar, France. In the same year Peter and Zoltán won first prize at the international duo-guitar competition held in Bubenreuth, Germany and were awarded the Cultural Prize of the City of Kassel, Germany. They won the S.T. Johnson Foundation prize in 1995 and The Laura Ashley prize in 1996. In 1997 they were winners at the Young Concert Artist Trust competition in London and in the same year they successfully auditioned for the Park Lane contemporary music group. In 1998 they won the Concert Artists Guild Competition held in New York, followed by a tour of the USA including their Carnegie Hall debut. In 2004, they were awarded the prestigious Borletti-Buitoni prize, the first guitarists in the trust's history.
Critically acclaimed by the Daily Telegraph as “the classical world’s best known guitar duo,” Peter and Zoltán Katona effortlessly transfer from strictly classical, into more popular musical genres. The Katona Twins have performed extensively throughout the worls, including performances in the major concert venues, such as the Philharmonie in Berlin, the Alte Oper Frankfurt, the Philharmonie in Cologne, and the Purcell Room of the Royal Festival Hall and Wigmore Hall in London, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Konzerthaus in Vienna, as well as the Carnegie Hall in New York, the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall in Moscow, the Suntory Hall in Tokyo, the Forbidden City in Beijing. In 2004, they appeared at the Cheltenham International Music Festival with the London Sinfonietta. Michael Berkeley composed a double concerto for performance by the twins there. Their concert schedule for 2007 included venues in Japan, France, Germany, and the USA. In 2009, as the soloists of the "Night of the Proms" they performed live to half a million people in arenas across Europe. They played together with renowned musicians such as Yo-Yo Ma and Kathryn Stott and world class ensembles such as the BBC Concert Orchestra and the London Sinfonietta. They were Resident Artists of San Francisco Performances from 2007 to 2011.
The Katona Twins' repertoire includes Classical music, Tango and Spanish guitar. They have also adapted and arranged classical works for guitar duo. Their wide repertoire spans from J.S. Bach and Mozart to Piazzolla’s tango music to their arrangements of pop classics. Their programs also include concertos for two guitars and orchestra by Rodrigo, Antonio Vivaldi, J.S. Bach, Astor Piazzolla and Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco. Several composers, such as Paco de Lucía, have written and dedicated their works to the Katona Twins.
Recent performance highlights include their debut at Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall, a return engagement at London's Wigmore Hall, a performance at the Hungarian Embassy in Washington, DC, and appearances at the Fort Worth, Austin, and Connecticut Classical Guitar Societies. They also performed on a live broadcast on BBC Radio, playing Joaquin Rodrigo's Concierto Madrigal with the BBC Radio Orchestra. Upcoming highlights include Spivey Hall in Atlanta, a return to San Francisco for the Omni Foundation Concert Series, a two-week residency for the Quad City Visiting Artist Series, and the Florida International Music Festival. Internationally, the Katonas will perform throughout Europe with engagements at the Esztergom Festival in Hungary, the Caroso Festival in Italy, the Cambridge Summer Music Festival in England, the Schloss Elmau Festival in Germany, and will participate in an Irish Music Network tour.
The Katona Twins have been invited on numerous occasions to record for the BBC and other international television and radio stations. In Hungary and Germany they are frequently invited to record for television and radio broadcasts. The Katona Twins have release 5 albums so far with works by Ástor Piazzolla, Granados, Isaac Albéniz, Manuel de Falla, and Mozart recorded in Budapest for the Channel Classics label. In the summer of 1999 they released their second Channel CD recording, which features the music of Scarlatti and George Frideric Handel, and in this year, Channel released their recording of Rodrigo's Concierto Madrigal with the Rotterdam Chamber Orchestra.
Peter and Zoltán Katona are now German citizens and live in Liverpool, England. Celebrated artists in their own right today, the twins in turn give masterclasses to younger musicians. They served as jury members for the 2nd International Guitar Festival Heinsberg 2007.