World famous Hungarian-born pianist and virtuoso. As a child prodigy, he studied at the Franz Liszt Academy from the age of eight, under the tuition of Leó Weiner, György Ferenczy and Imre Keéri-Szántó.His promising career was interrupted fi rst by World War II and Russian imprisonment and then by three years of hard labour following an unsuccessful emigration attempt in 1950. After working as a bar pianist, with the help of friends and colleagues, Cziffra was able to begin performing and recording again in the mid-1950s and received the Franz Liszt Award. On 22 October 1956, he gave an outstanding performance of Bartók’s Piano Concerto No. 2 at the Erkel Színház, in a moment that linked musical history to the Hungarian revolution. After the borders opened the next day, Cziffra and his family emigrated to Paris. His meteoric success in the years thereafter stood in sharp contrast to his previous tribulations: Cziffra quickly became one of the period’s most sought-after pianists, wooed by orchestras and concert halls such as Carnegie Hall, the Royal Festival Hall, the Hollywood Bowl and the Tonhalle. In 1969 he founded an international competition in Versailles, and renovated and remodelled the royal chapel in Senlis, France, into a concert hall, which he named after Franz Liszt, where he performed with the greatest musicians of his time for many years. He became a master of Romantic piano music (Schubert, Chopin, Liszt, Brahms, Rachmaninoff). His improvisational skills made him one of the world’s greatest pianists. His amazing career, talent and character stand as an example, along with his work to promote young musicians. His legacy reaches far beyond his recordings, charitable work and educational activities. Following in the footsteps of Liszt and Dohnányi, he represents a creative artistic tradition that combines elegant improvision and the ability to synthesize different musical styles, which enlivened and embodied the works of the 19th century’s great performers. Won at the cost of great suffering, the essence of Cziffra’s attitude towards life and his musical creed was the same: individual and musical freedom. His memory in Hungary is preserved by the annual Cziffra Festival founded by Kossuth Award winner János Balázs. A series of high profi le international events was held to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of this world-famous pianist and maintain the memory and legacy of György Cziffra, with performances by top musicians at the world’s most important concert halls.