Commended as “a most impressive musical interpreter” (Dr. Christoph Wolff, the Boston Musical Intelligencer) and for his virtuosity, “[He] inspired awe with the work’s marvelous scalar passages and fiery finish…” (The Diapason), Bálint Karosi earned a reputation for his expressive command of a wide range of repertoire that is guided by historical performance practice and a remarkably multi-faceted musicianship enriched by his experiences as a composer, conductor, church musician, and clarinetist.
Since winning the International Bach Competition in Leipzig in 2008, Dr. Karosi has been recognized as one of the leading interpreters of the music of J. S. Bach worldwide. In 2020, he embarked on recording the complete organ works of J. S. Bach in fourteen recitals on different organs in the U.S. and Europe. The series, designed by Christoph Wolff for Izumi Hall, Japan, is published on Balint’s YouTube channel, and will be released in a CD set. He is one of few organists in North America to improvise regularly in recitals in authentic Baroque style, which is informed by his research in Baroque improvisation techniques of the 17th and 18th centuries. He has five recorded albums that have been received with critical acclaim—“[Balint Karosi] plays with self-understood naturalness, without trying to emphasize a sacred pathos” (Gramafon, Hungary, 2015) ̶ including J. S. Bach’s Clavier-übung III and the Art of Fugue, that he recorded on the organ, harpsichord, and clavichord.
Dr. Karosi has had an active career as a solo organ recitalist. In the summer of 2021, his engagements included concerts in Denmark, Hungary, and Finland. He has given solo organ concerts in concert halls in Budapest, Leipzig, Osaka, Yokohama, and Geneva, and on some of the world’s most significant historic organs in Lübeck, Leipzig, Norden, Leer, Paris, Freiberg, Merseburg, and Naumburg, among others. He has given masterclasses in improvisation at Eastman School of Music, Yale, Oberlin, the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, Seoul, South Korea, and the Cuneo Conservatory in Italy.
His six volumes of organ music, published by Wayne Leupold Editions, include his Organ Book No. 1 (2017), conceived for historic organs, and works in a more symphonic idiom, often drawing inspiration from Hungarian music as in his Symphony on a Chorale by Béla Bartók (2012). His Toccata in memory of Béla Bartók (2007) was the compulsory piece for the finals of the 2020 National Young Artist Competition in Organ Playing at the AGO National Convention in Atlanta.
As an active composer, he has received commissions from the Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Spectrum Symphony of New York, the New Hungarian Music Society (UMZE), Musiciens Libres, the Miskolc Symphony Orchestra, Anima Musica Chamber Orchestra, Antico Moderno, the Norfolk Festival Chorus, the Yale Philharmonia Orchestra, Canto Armonico, and the Boston Choral Ensemble. His opera, Lonely Hearts, won the Most Dramatic Opera award and audience vote at the 2020 Contemporary Opera Showcase at the Hungarian State Opera. The libretto, written by Hungarian playwright Almási András Tóth, is based on a true story of a fraudulent American dating service from the 1980s. Dr. Karosi’s compositions include works for choir, solo voice, solo clarinet, piano, harpsichord, symphony orchestra, and wind symphony. He has composed cantatas, concertos for organ, harpsichord, clarinet and baroque violins, a triple concerto for harp, cimbalom and guitar, and a Requiem. Three of these are featured on his critically acclaimed album Existentia, released in 2019 on the Hungaroton label. Of the concerto, Records International wrote in 2019: “the soloists, joined by others within the ensemble, emerge to play beautiful, exotically tinged melodies, like tellers of ancient tales.”
Dr. Karosi is the recipient numerous first prizes in organ competitions; the J. S. Bach competition in Leipzig, the International Organ Competition in Miami, and the Dublin International Organ competition that he won at age 22. He currently serves as Cantor at Saint Peter’s Church in New York City, where he is artistic director of the Saint Peter’s Bach Collegium, which he founded in 2015 for annual performances of J. S. Bach’s Passions, cantatas, and to commission and premier new sacred repertoire. From 2007 to 2015, Dr. Karosi served as Minister of Music at the First Lutheran Church of Boston, where he established a Bach Cantata Vespers, raised funds for the completion of the Richards Fowkes Opus 10 pipe organ, and he founded the church’s successful annual Boston Bach Birthday in 2008, which has since developed into the most popular organ-related event in Boston.
Aside from solo organ performances and composing, he enjoys work as a collaborative harpsichordist, continuo player, and occasional clarinet player, often featuring historical clarinets. He has been broadcast numerous times on American Public Media’s Pipedreams, as well as WGBH Boston and Bartók Rádio in Hungary.
Seen his video of the Concerto in C Major, BWV 594, after Vivaldi, by J. S. Bach, at https://www.thediapason.com/videos/balint-karosi-plays-concerto-c-major-bwv-594
For information: www.karosi.org
Bálint Karosi is represented in North America exclusively by Phillip Truckenbrod Concert Artists, LLC.
E-mail: [email protected]
PO Box 432, Dearborn Heights, MI 48127