Soloist gives his royalties to Covid-hit youngsters

Soloist gives his royalties to Covid-hit youngsters


norman lebrecht

June 28, 2021

The Hungarian-born violinist György Pauk has published an English version of his life story, ahead of his 85th birthday.

He writes on the frontispiece: This book was prepared for publication during the 2020/21 period of the Covid pandemic. As everyone knows this has had a traumatic impact on the classical music community in the UK and overseas. Many of those earning their living in this sector of the economy are freelance or self-employed, and demand for their services has collapsed. As for the students preparing to follow in their footsteps, they are anxiously wondering what the future holds for them.

I have decided that all proceeds from the sale of this book will be distributed to charities supporting young classical musicians.



  • Jan Kaznowski says:

    Great guy ! I’d love to read this book – I still remember his dynamic presence at premiere of Tippett’s triple concerto (Proms 1980)

  • Garry Humphreys says:

    His piano trio with Ralph Kirshbaum and Peter Frankl was wonderful! They always seemed to be enjoying themselves so we the listeners enjoyed it too.

  • FrauGeigerin says:

    His recording of Bartok is legendary.

    • Andrew Condon says:

      Indeed they are. Years ago I went backstage after he had performed the Brahms Concerto in Tunbridge Wells. He and his wife were very pleasant and more than happy to chat for a good five minutes. A great opera lover – he was interested that I lived quite near Glyndebourne. Not wishing to push my luck, I produce just 2 Naxos Bartok booklets which he signed quite happily. He then says to me “there is another one you know” – his eyes lit up as I then produce a third booklet for him to sign!

    • David K. Nelson says:

      Don’t forget his very fine set of CDs of the Mozart Violin Concertos, the single-movement works, the Concertone for two violins, and Sinfonie Concertante. A lovely blend of refinement and vigor.

  • Print media eh.... says:

    So about $220, then. What a hero

    • Jan Kaznowski says:

      Well at least Mr P shares his name in his book, unlike you..err.. Mr/Ms “Print media eh…”

    • BRUCEB says:

      You remind me of a colleague of mine who used to complain that we never good any really good or famous soloists to come play with our smallish regional orchestra. It was always 2nd- or 3rd-tier people, or youngsters trying to get started, or friends of the conductor (or more likely “friends” because they shared a manager)… in other words, people whose fees we could afford.

      Then, when we did get somebody good and famous (André Watts, c. 1996 – you can argue amongst yourselves about whether he’s actually good or famous; but while you’re arguing, keep in mind that you know his name), the first thing he said was “wow, his career must really be on the skids if he’s coming here.” He just refused to be pleased with anything. Watts came and played and was wonderful, but my friend was dissatisfied with the size of the audience…

      So — I was going to say something faux-snarky like “please let us know what dollar amount you would find satisfactory,” but I realized I already knew the answer to that question, or any question like it.

  • Bernard Jacobson says:

    György Pauk and I have been friends ever since my 1960s job with Philips in Holland, when, having escaped from Hungary in 1956, he spent several years as concertmaster of the Brabants Orkest in Eindhoven. A performance he gave in Chicago years later of Bartók’s Second Violin Concerto stands out in my memory. The result of his impeccably unified collaboration with Solti at his best was without question the greatest performance of the work I have ever heard, as subtle and lyrical as it was brilliant and passionate.

    As this news item attests, György is a very generous man. After a lunch we had together during his visit to Chicago, he insisted on picking up the check. I noticed he had not included a tip, so I said, “Let me do the tip.” “Oh, no,” he said, “it’s included in the bill.” When I explained that the percentage figure he was looking at was not for service but for tax, he was mortified: “No wonder I’ve been getting black looks from waiters on this whole tour!” I made a rule for myself after this experience: when you go to a new country, you must always find out as soon as possible what the local practice is with regard to charging or not charging for service.

  • Alasdair Munro says:

    I heard him at my first ever Proms concert in 1973, Mozart 4th concerto with Solti conducting the BBC SO.