An interview with theremin player Katica Illényi.
Katica Illényi is an artist of many talents. She plays the violin, sings, tap dances, and she also plays the theremin.
Katica comes from a family of musicians and has classical training. Her mother was an accomplished pianist, and her father, Ferenc Illényi, played in the Hungarian State Opera House. The first violin teacher of Katica was, in fact, her father, who decided to educate his four children, Katica, Ferenc, Anikó, and Csaba, to make them musicians. So it was that Katica began studying the violin at the age of three. At fourteen, she was admitted to the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest, in the “special talents” class.
But once obtained her master’s degree in violin, Katica felt the need to cross the borders, too narrow for her, of the world of classical music, and devoted herself to jazz and world music. Furthermore, playing the violin was not enough for her. To express herself fully, she felt the need to sing and dance. Thus the study of the violin was accompanied by the study of singing, dance, and acting.
This change of focus led her to play central roles in plays and musicals and to join the Budapest Klezmer Band for which she assumed the role of lead violinist and singer. At some point, TV shows began to invite her, and this started her solo career. Starting in 2002, she began to hold concerts characterized by an eclectic program that mixes classical music with jazz and movie soundtrack themes. This way, Katica has shown that it is possible to bring together different genres and build bridges between different cultures by giving the audience high-quality popular music.
She is one of the artists, along with Zoltán Kocsis, Andrea Rost, and Marta Sebestyén, chosen to represent Hungarian culture worldwide.
In 2014 Katica introduced the theremin to her audience at her New Year recital, which took place at the Palace of Arts Béla Bartók. Since then, she has continued to perfect herself with the instrument, and the theremin has remained a constant presence in her concerts.