JENÖ HUBAY (1858 - 1937)
Born in Pest in 1858, the violinist, composer and teacher Jenő Hubay (born Eugen Huber) had his first violin lessons from his father, a professor of violin at the Budapest Conservatory that Liszt had established, before studying with Joachim in Berlin. He returned to Hungary but was advised by Liszt to try his luck in Paris, where he was well received and became a close friend of Vieuxtemps, whom he subsequently succeeded at the Brussels Conservatoire. His later career took him back to Budapest, where he taught a number of violinists who won later distinction, including Joseph Szigeti. He continued travelling as a virtuoso, played chamber music in a quartet with the cellist David Popper, and later became director of the Budapest Music Academy.
Hubay also distinguished himself as a composer, an aspect of his career now largely neglected. His compositions included operas, two symphonies, concertos for viola and for violin, varied chamber music, and smaller pieces for the violin, of which the Hungarian Hejre Kati is a well-known example. His Fantaisie brillante on Bizet’s Carmen, Op. 3, No. 3, was written in 1877. Demanding considerable technical proficiency, it opens with the theme of Carmen’s fate and includes Micaela’s Act III aria, Carmen’s Habanera and the Toreador’s song and march, all variously embellished.