Ferenc Illenyi grew up in a musical family in Budapest during the waning days of the Soviet empire. His father was a career violinist in a local orchestra, and the children each started learning violin at an early age. Ferenc’s father taught him violin until he turned sixteen, at which time he entered the Franz Liszt Music Academy under the tutelage of Denes Kovacs.

During his years in Europe, he debuted in Budapest performing both the Beethoven and Tchaikovsky violin concertos and was a finalist in the Carl Flesch and Tibor Varga competitions. Recording for Hungarian Radio during his teen years, he also toured Europe with the Tibor Varga Chamber Orchestra. At various times he has performed most of the standard violin concerto repertoire.

He experienced a succession of distinguished teachers in countries outside Hungary: Tibor Varga (Germany), Sandor Vegh (Austria), Zoltan Szekely (Canada), and in the U.S., Fredell Lack, Carolyn Plummer and one of the violin titans of the 20th Century, Camilla Wicks.

A full scholarship brought Mr. Illenyi to the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University in 1990. Just two years later, he won a position in the first violin section of the Houston Symphony, where he continues as a distinguished and respected member. He is also concertmaster of the Houston Chamber Symphony.

Ferenc Illenyi