Havas was best known for her teachings that address natural positioning, injury prevention and stage fright for violinists and violists, having taught numerous classes and published several books and videos. A New Approach to Violin Playing, which was first published in 1961 and contained a foreword by Yehudi Menuhin, took a whole-body approach to the mechanics of violin playing, insisting on a natural approach to positioning in order to help eliminate tension and create balance. Stage Fright: Its Causes and Cures offers exercises to help conquer stage fright, addressing its physical, mental and social aspects.
Over the years, Violinist.com members have praised the power of Havas' teaching to help bring about more ease in their playing.
"To know her is to be truly inspired by her and to learn to love performing, practicing and playing," said Kristian Svennevig in a 2014 discussion on Violinist.com about Havas. Svennevig studied with Havas at a weeklong workshop in the early '90s. "Her teaching of the bow arm and also methods to overcome fears and clutching of the violin are pure gold!...She taught me in 5 minutes what i spent a whole semester in college learning."
Born in Hungary, Havas started playing the violin at age five, was performing by age seven and made a Carnegie Hall debut at the age of 17. She studied with Imre Waldbauer at the Royal Academy in Budapest, according to her biography.. She was also influenced by Hungarian gypsy violin players.
She gave numerous workshops around the world and founded Purbeck Music Festival in Dorset, the Roehampton Music Festival in London and the International Festival in Oxford.
Among her awards: a 1992 Isaac Stern International Award from the American String Teachers Association; a 2002 appointment to the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the Queen's Birthday Honors; and a lifelong achievement award in 2013 from the European Teachers' Association.
Please share your remembrances or thoughts about Kató Havas below in the comments section.
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