OFFICE OF THE CHAIR - DEPARTMENT OF MUSIC
January 13, 2014
ALL ACADEMICS, STAFF AND STUDENTS AT UC SAN DIEGO
Professor János Négyesy, renowned violinist and longtime member of the UC San Diego Department of Music, passed away on Dec. 20, 2013. He was 75.
Professor Négyesy was internationally admired for recordings and concerts of works by such twentieth-century composers as Béla Bartók, Morton Feldman, Charles Ives, and Kaija Saariaho, as well as Vinko Globokar, Georg Hajdu and his UC San Diego colleague Roger Reynolds, who all wrote pieces for him. A close friend and favorite performer of John Cage--who dedicated one of his last works to him--he premiered and produced the first recording of Cage's Freeman Etudes 1-16. Négyesy was also a passionate interpreter of eighteenth and nineteenth-century chamber music.
A pioneer in working with electronic media, Négyesy played an important role in the development of the electro-acoustic violin, including the first electric violin developed by Max Mathews at Bell Labs in the 1970s. He was also a visual artist whose works included large abstract computer-generated paintings exhibited in various galleries. Only two weeks before his death, he gave the premiere performance of a new work for violin and computer by French composer Nicolas Vérin that included projections of his digital art.
János Négyesy was born in Budapest, Hungary, in the inauspicious year of 1938. When he was still a toddler, his father was deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp, from which he never returned. Négyesy began playing violin at age 4 and went on to study with Ferenc Gábriel at the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music in Budapest and Gábriel's former student, Tibor Varga. From 1970 to 1974, he served as concertmaster of the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra (now the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin), after which he embarked on his distinguished career as an internationally active soloist. In 1976, Pierre Boulez invited him to perform a week of concerts at the newly inaugurated French music institute, IRCAM.
Professor Négyesy joined the UC San Diego Department of Music in 1979. Over the years, he attracted a loyal audience for his quarterly Soirée for Music Lovers concerts, at which he performed alongside his beloved wife, violinist Päivikki Nykter, and an ever-changing cast of student and alumni performers. He also directed quarterly concerts by undergraduate chamber ensembles and recitals by his violin and viola students. In the 1980s and 1990s, he was a member of the innovative faculty ensemble SONOR, as well as a resident artist at the Center for Computing in the Arts. He shared his love of life and music generously with generations of UC San Diego students and made an indelible contribution to the Music Department, the campus, and the wider community.
In lieu of Professor Négyesy's previously scheduled February 14 Valentine's Day Soirée for Music Lovers-which would have been the 80th Soirée-the department of music will present "To János with Love: A Celebration of Life," with performances by faculty members Mark Dresser (contrabass), Philip Larson (bass baritone), Kartik Seshadri (sitar); emeritus faculty Bertram Turetzky (contrabass); and various peers, alumni and students who performed with or were mentored by Professor Négyesy.
For more information please see: http://musicweb.ucsd.edu/concerts/.