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Born in Budapest in 1940, Ernö Sebestyén began playing the violin at the age of four, and at the age of nine entered the Franz Liszt Academy of Music. Between 1959 and 1970 he was a member of the Hungarian State Opera Orchestra, becoming its concertmaster in 1963. In 1965 he began teaching at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music. His last appointment before leaving Hungary was as concertmaster of the Hungarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. From 1971 to 1981 he was concertmaster of the Berlin Deutsche Oper Orchestra and taught at the Hochschule der Künste, continuing to appear as a soloist and in chamber music. He was a founding member and head of the Deutschen Streichersolisten Chamber Orchestra, Berlin. From 1983 he was also artistic head and leader of the Berlin Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra for sixteen years. Between 1980 and 1990 he continued his orchestral work in Munich as concertmaster of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. From 1990 to 2005 he held the Chair in violin studies at the Munich Hochschule für Musik und Theater. He is one of the founding members of the Esterházy Piano Trio. Winner of several international music competitions, he has received various international honours, and has recorded for a number of major record companies.

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