Imre Ungár

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Imre Ungár

Imre Ungár (born January 23, 1909 in Budapest , † November 22, 1972 ibid) was a Hungarian pianist.

Imre Ungár already lost his eyesight at the age of three due to a brain tumor. His amazing musical interest enabled his parents to teach him to play the piano despite his disability. Ungár's first piano teacher was Izso Rózenfeld . This was followed by the famous Liszt student István Thoman at the Music Academy in Budapest. At the age of 16, Ungár won a music competition for young talent. He then began to give concerts all over Hungary and neighboring countries. In the contemporary press he was stylized as the new star of the Hungarian piano school.

In 1932 he took part in the 2nd International Chopin Competition in Warsaw. There he won the 2nd prize due to a tie. Ungár had the same number of points as the first-placed Alexander Uninski . The rules of the competition at that time did not provide “prizes in equal parts”. The order of the places in the event of a tie was decided by lot.

After winning the Chopin Competition, Ungár was a frequent guest in Polish concert halls. His repertoire ranged from Bach to modern times. He performed a number of works by Bartók, Kodály and Liszt, Schubert, Schumann, Brahms, Beethoven, Haydn and Chopin with great success. Despite his blindness, he often played piano concertos by Chopin, Beethoven, Schumann and Brahms with conductors such as Otto Klemperer , Carl Schuricht , Dimitri Mitropoulos , Willem Mengelberg , Jan Krenz , Witold Rowicki and others.

In the first years of World War II, Ungár lived in the Netherlands. He returned to Budapest in 1943. After the war he resumed his concert career. But he also gave lessons at the Budapest Music Academy, opened his own piano class and quickly gained fame as a piano teacher. One of his students was the Polish pianist Tadeusz Żmudziński , who was awarded at the Chopin Competition in 1949.

Ungár's piano playing was characterized by a powerful expression. His tempos were a little slower than accepted standards. He often used rubato and made heavy use of both piano pedals, taking advantage of the instrument's beautiful, saturated sound. In his home country Hungary, Hungary was considered an absolute authority.


  • Magyar Életrajzi Lexicon: Ungár Imre. Retrieved June 24, 2018 (Hungarian).
  • Stanisław Dybowski (Fryderyk Chopin Information Center): Imre Ungár. Retrieved June 24, 2018 .

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