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János Sebestyén (Organ, Harpsichord, Piano)

Born: March 2, 1931 - Budapest, Hungary

The Hungaroan organist and harpsichordist, János Sebestyén was born into a musical family. His mother was on the piano faculty at the National Conservatory, where he began his musical education. His father was a prominent pedagogue and principal cellist of opera orchestras in Göteborg and Budapest. In 1950, while waiting for admission to the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music, he joined the staff of the Hungarian Radio. Two years later he entered the Academy of Music, where he studied organ with János Hammerschlag and Ferenc Gergely, piano with István Antal and composition with Ervin Major and Ferenc Szabó.

Since graduating in 1955, János Sebestyén has performed regularly as organist, harpsichordist and pianist throughout all Eastern and Western European countries, USA, Japan, Philippines. In 1970 he established the harpsichord class at the Academy of Music, where he is professor. He was senior music producer at the Hungarian Radio until 1994 and continues to write and host a regular series of broadcasts. He served as President of the Jury for the International Liszt Organ Competition in 1983, 1988 and 1993, and in 2000 for the First International Harpsichord Competition, Budapest.

János Sebestyén has made more than eighty recordings for Hungaroton, Vox-Turnabout, Vox-Candide, Price-less, Fonit-Cetrra, Ars Nova, including complete organ works of Liszt on Vox-Box; Naxos. His publications include a biography of Miklós Rózsa, Stories From My Life (1980), compiled from taped interviews with the composer, and Those Radio Years (1995), a history of the Hungarian Radio.

János Sebestyén's awards in Hungary include: the Erkel Prize in 1967; the Liszt Prize in 1974; Siver Medal Diploma from Arts-Sciences-Letters in 1980; and the title Artist of Merit of Hungary in 1982. In August 2000 he was awarded the Officer's Cross by Hungarian president Ferenc Mádl in recognition of fifty years of service to the Hungarian Radio. International awards include the title Cavalier of the Italian Republic in 1984, the Portuguese title Grande Comendador of the Henrique Infante State Order in 1996 and in 1999 he was awarded the rank of Officer in the Isabella la Católica Order by King Juan Carlos I of Spain. In February 2000 he was awarded the title Cavalier of the Order of the Southern Cross by the Brazilian government, and in December of the same year he was appointed Officer in the Royal Order of the Nordic Star by King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden.

Source: János Sebestyén Website; International Who's Who in Music & International Directory (13th Edition, 1992/93)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (October 2006)

János Sebestyén: Short Biography | Recordings of Instrumental Works

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




Frigyes Sándor


BWV 56

Links to other Sites

János Sebestyén (Official Website)


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