Antal Zalai

December 22, 2020, 7:28 AM · Hello everyone,

For quite some time I have known this violinist called Antal Zalai and It has always been impressive for me to hear his playing and how close to perfection it is. It is certainly a bit on the softer side which does not make sense to all the repertoire especially when playing a piece like the Ysaye/ Saint-Saens valse, however for composers like Bach, Paganini,(most of)Wieniawski it makes perfect sense to be played more elegantly .One could characterise his playing as too reserved and I would guess that the fact he is quite unknown owes to that yet I still feel like he is way too underrated. I would like to hear what your thoughts on him are.

Looking forward to hearing from you,

Replies (8)

December 22, 2020, 10:07 AM · I queued up his IRC (

I would describe his playing as skillful and polished. I would dearly love to be able to play the violin like that. I did notice that he often is playing very close to (or even over) the fingerboard, and rarely near the bridge, with his bow, and I wonder if this is keeping him from getting the same kind of crisp articulation and focused sound of those I consider superior soloists.

December 22, 2020, 10:37 AM · Gabriel really good that you bring him up, I also adore him, a really natural player, "grounded", don't know how to describe it. The kind of player I would like to be. It is indeed remarkable that he plays close to the fingerboard most of the time. He has a very fast bow speed, however. A very personal, authentic style.
December 22, 2020, 12:59 PM · I like his Moses video.
December 22, 2020, 10:45 PM · I love Antal Zalai’s playing. I find it refreshing as opposed to some of the other more mainstream soloists in that it’s more tame and refined. It makes a lot of sense on pieces like the Moses, caprice Basque, and the like. Paul is right though. He does play quite close to the fingerboard so he doesn’t get as big of a sound as other soloists do, which would be needed for the bigger concerti like Sibelius, Tchaikovsky, and others. But it’s more than enough for the things he usually plays on his channel. It’s works wonders on his recording of the Ravel Tzigane.

Oh and his Paganini caprices are excellent as well. He recorded all 24 and they are all on his YouTube channel. I frequent the playlist whenever I start a new caprice or need to see a different approach.

December 23, 2020, 3:24 PM · Antal Zalai is arguably the world's most underrated violinist. His cushioned, honest, unaffected approach reminds me at times of David Oistrakh or Arthur Grumiaux. His performances of unaccompanied Bach are my benchmark and inspiration. I don't understand why he isn't as famous as he ought to be. Then again, there were great violinists like Aaron Rosand, Oscar Shumsky, Steven Staryk, and David Nadien who weren't household names either. I hope Mr. Zalai will be rewarded with the recognition and success that he so richly deserves. Thank you, Gabriel, for bringing Mr. Zalai to everyone's attention here!
December 23, 2020, 4:37 PM · So calm, so relaxed, so beautiful.

Thank you.

December 23, 2020, 6:26 PM · Beautiful, thanks for posting about him.
December 23, 2020, 8:19 PM · Antal Zalai was a child prodigy from a long line of professional musicians. He is a world-class soloist of extraordinary talent. He is very popular in his homeland of Hungary and throughout Europe. I don't know that he has toured much in America or speaks English, which may explain why he's not more well known in the US? I do enjoy his playing very much!

This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Email is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music

Yamaha Silent Violin
Yamaha Silent Violin

Corilon Violins
Corilon Violins

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases

MyLuthier Business Directory Business Directory Guide to Online Learning Guide to Online Learning

ARIA International Summer Academy

Meadowmount School of Music

Antonio Strad Violin

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop

Bobelock Cases


Los Angeles Violin Shop

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Metzler Violin Shop

Leatherwood Bespoke Rosin



Johnson String Instrument and Carriage House Violins

Potter Violins

String Masters

Bein & Company

Annapolis Bows & Violins

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews. Interviews Volume 1 Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn Interviews Volume 2 Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine