Death of engaging cellist, 47

Friends are mourning the early death, after long illness of Tamás Mérei, a Yale-educated Hungarian cellist who studied in America with Janos Starker and won the grand prix at the Piatigorsky festival.

A former professor at the Liszt Academy, he was director since 2009 of the Savaria Symphony Orchestra.

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  • I am saddened by the death of this great virtuoso whose Juillard Master’s recital was the 24 Paganini Violin Caprices in his own cello arrangement, a unique achievement because of the high quality he brought to this nearly impossible challenge.

  • What a great loss. He was such a talented cellist. We were both at Yale at the same time. During the first week of the semester, I was on my way to a practice room when I heard someone playing the Paganini variations on the … cello! I couldn’t believe my ears and knocked on the door. The door opened and a giant man stood before me, grinning from ear to ear.
    Four years later, I took part in the conducting course with Zoltan Pesko and Laszlo Tihanyi at the Bartok Festival in Szombathely. Hanging on a wall in the adjoining music school was a picture of a young cellist, not more than ten years old, and it was unmistakable who it was. That afternoon I learned that all week I had already been working and conversing with his mother – a teacher at the school and the principal cellist in the Savaria Symphony Orchestra. There are so many coincidences in the music world!
    Tamás could have played with any orchestra, but it always fascinated me that he returned to his home town.

  • Amazing cellist. Knew him at Yale while he was a student of the great Aldo Parisot.
    Remember him telling me about his days as a race car driver.
    He played many of the violin concertos also at pitch!
    Sad loss. Too early!

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