Csaba Onczay is one of the leading violoncellists of his generation. He received the Kossuth Prize (1993), the highest award given to any performing artist in all of Hungary. He appears as a soloist in some of the most prestigious concert halls of Europe, America, Korea and Japan. He has amassed outstanding successes with numerous orchestras including the Wiener Symphoniker, the Gewandhaus Orchester Leipzig, the RAI Orchestra as well as many orchestras in the United States.
Mr. Onczay has won various international prizes. They include: First Prize at the International Pablo Casals Competition in Budapest, Hungary (1973); First Prize at the International Villa Lobos Competition of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (1976); and for his excellent interpretation of Kodály`s Solosonata op.8., he was awarded the Liszt Prize in Budapest, Hungary (1976). He was also awarded the prestigious Bartók-Pásztory Prize in 2004.
Born in Budapest, Hungary, Mr. Onczay studied at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest with Antal Friss, at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow with Shirinsky and with Andre Navarra in Sienna, Italy. After finishing his studies, he secured the position of Professor at the Academy of Music in Budapest, Hungary where he remains today. In 2001, he was a Visiting Professor at Oberlin Conservatory in Oberlin, OH. 2006 since he is a Visiting Professor at the Jacobs School of Music in Indiana University in Bloomington.
In addition to numerous concert recordings for radio and television, Mr. Onczay has concertos of C.P.E. Bach, Schumann, Lalo, Villa Lobos, Dohnányi and also all the sonatas of Beethoven and all the solo suites of Bach. Mr. Onczay is considered to be an outstanding interpreter of the contemporary music of Akutagawa, Gubaidulina, Lutoslawski, Pendereczki, Dutilleux, Landowski, Lendvay, Szokolay and of concertos composed for him personally (Kocsár, Lendvay and Decsényi).
Parallel with his activity of interpreter since 1978, he regularly holds master-courses in Italy, Germany, France, Austria, Switzerland, USA, Japan and Hungary. Mr. Onczay founded an orchestra in Florence, Italy in 2000. He is invited as soloist and chamber music player to many international festivals, including: Pablo Casals Festival Prades; Springfestival Budapest; Beaumaris Festival Gifu; Springfestival Prague. He is the Artistic Director of the Niederstotzingen Musiktage in Germany and of the Summer Courses at the Festetics Castle in Keszthely, Hungary and Bergamo, Italy.
His participation at the Wolf Trap Festival in USA in 1984 was received with great enthusiasm. Musical America reported about him:
Le Monde reported about him in August 1990:
“More significant was the successful presence of Hungarian cellist Csaba Onczay, with an extraordinary concentration, connected to a sound of “velvet” – disregarding any effects - ... vivacious, deep, passionate and sometimes with a “ghostly” character ... close to Casals for saying shortly”.