Recognised as one of the leading violinists of today, Gyorgy Pauk was born in Hungary. Before settling in London in 1961 he won the first prize at the “Paganini Competition”, the Premier Grand Prix at the “Jacques Thibaud Competition” in Paris and first prize in the “Munich Sonata Competition”. He made his London debut with the London Symphony Orchestra under Lorin Maazel. In an outstanding and wideranging international career Gyorgy Pauk has appeared with the world’s leading orchestras in collaboration with conductors of the highest distinction such as Pierre Boulez, Sir Simon Rattle, Bernard Haitink, Christoph von Dohnányi, Gennadi Rozhdestvensky, Klaus Tennstedt, Leonard Slatkin and Charles Dutoit.
He made his American debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1971. Since then he has appeared as a soloist with the major orchestras of the United States. He boasts an exceptionally rich repertoire that includes some of the masterpieces of the twentieth century and has given first performances of works by Lutoslawski, Penderecki, Schnittke, Maxwell Davies and Tippett under the baton of the composers.
It is with great pleasure that I salute the 50th anniversary of the International Paganini Competition. Genova is a very special place for me. It was the destination of my first trip to a Western European country in 1956, when I was still living in Hungary. Coming to Italy was a fantastic experience. I spent hours watching the boats in the harbour and loved being able to eat spaghetti with meat. In Hungary spaghetti is only eaten with sweet jams and poppy seed. As far as the competition was concerned, it was my first major international violin contest and I managed to win the first prize, which was a long cherished dream to come true. In later years, I was invited to be on the jury myself and it was with great interest that I watched the new, talented generation of violinists play on the same stage I appeared years earlier.
The last time I sat among the jury was in 2002, the 49th time this great competition was held. Having been a jury member at most of the biggest international competitions, I realised that it is much better to hold such events at least every two or three years, in order to gather a number of highly talented youngsters. I therefore suggested to the committee that the next one be held in 2004, which as it happens is the year that Genova has been chosen to be Cultural City of Europe. This proposal was gladly accepted and I am very pleased now to send a message of good wishes, luck and great success to this great Paganini Competition.