József Tönköly has been principal clarinet player of the Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra for 13 years. The orchestra has made successful worldwide tours and made numerous recordings. These include a series of the complete works of Bartók. Two from the already issued recordings were awarded prizes.
József was born in Budapest in 1965. At the age of 13 he was admitted to the Franz Liszt Music Academy in Budapest, in the faculty for "special talents". For five years he studied with professors György Balassa and Tibor Dittrich. He was awarded his diploma in 1988, giving the Hungarian premiere of the Jean Francaix Clarinet Concerto.
While continuing his studies at the Academy, he regularly performed with the Budapest Festival Orchestra, the Symphonic Orchestra of Hungarian Radio and Television and also with the Hungarian State Symphony. He also took part in recordings and foreign tours with these orchestras.
In 1989 he became a member of the Hungarian State Symphony where Maestro Kobayashi Ken-Ichiro had been music director and principal conductor for 10 years. The orchestra is now called the Hungarian National Philharmonic, with Zoltón Kocsis as general music director and principal conductor.
He first met a Peter Eaton clarinet in 2010 and purchased a pair of the International model in April 2011. After a short period of changeover, he began the 2011-12 season playing Eaton clarinets. Since then he has performed Bartök: The Miraculous Mandarin, Richard Strauss: Daphné, Schubert: Symphony No 3 in D major, Kodály: Dances of Galanta, Bartök: Hungarian Sketches, all pieces featuring significant clarinet solos.
"I am very much satisfied with my Eaton clarinets. They have a warmer, more friendly and more human tone than any other clarinets I know. They do not scream in the upper register and do not become harsh in fortissimo. I am glad I found these instruments and I am grateful to Mr. Eaton, who has been very helpful. My colleagues say that my musical expression has become richer and more polished thanks to my new instruments. I continue to discover new advantages. I am glad I had the courage to change!"
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