(Kolozsvár [Cluj], 17 May 1912 – Salzburg, 7 January 1997)
World-famous violinist, chamber musician and conductor, Sándor Végh was one of the internationally best-known Hungarian musicians of the twentieth century. He studied at the Budapest Academy of Music under Nándor Zsolt (from 1924 to 1929) and Jenő Hubay (from 1929 to 1931), and studied composition from 1928 to 1929 under Zoltán Kodály. He made his début as a violinist with a work by Richard Strauss, conducted by the composer, in 1927. He graduated in 193a and won the Hubay and Reményi Awards of the Music Academy. From 1941 to 1946 he was professor of violin at the Music Academy and subsequently left Hungary.
Together with Ilonka Krausz and László Vincze he founded the Hungarian Trio, and in 1935 he founded the New Hungarian String Quartet, with which he participated in theEuropean première of Bartók’s Fifth String Quartet in 1936. In 1940 Sándor Végh founded his own string quartet, together with Sándor Zöldy, György Janzer and Pál Szabó. Consisting of excellent soloists, the Végh quartet was a resounding success worldwide. They won First Prize at the International Musical Competition in Geneva in 1946, following which they went on numerous tours around Europe, North and South America, and produced several recordings. Their repertoire included practically every string-quartet masterpiece, and they performed entire series of Beethoven’s and Bartók’s string quartets. Sándor Végh also enjoyed a significant international career as a solo violinist (the complete solo violin works of Bach being one of his specialities), and he continued playing into his old age.
He made use of his rich experience as a performer in his increasingly important activities as a teacher. He taught in Basle, Freiburg, Düsseldorf and Salzburg. In 1952 he met Pablo Casals, at whose invitation he taught and gave concerts in Zermatt and Prades, later after the cellist death in Marlboro. He appeared with the top artists on the musical scene. In Cervo, Italy, he founded his own chamber music festival in 1964; he taught and gave concerts extensively, regularly conducted the Sándor Végh Chamber Orchestra and the Marlboro Festival Orchestra. In 1972 he was involved in setting up yet another establishment at the initiative of Hillary Tunstall-Behrens in Cornwall, the International Musicians’ Seminar Prussia Cove. However, the pinnacle of his career as a teacher was the activity as a conductor of the Camerata Academica in Salzburg (from 1978), which consists of the current students of the Mozarteum. In the last period of his life he performed extensively with immense success, and made numerous recordings with the chamber orchestra that is widely regarded as the repository of Austrian traditions.