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Bartók Electrified

András Párniczky founded the group Nigun in 2001. The band experienced rapid and great success, performing at numerous prestigious music festivals as well as various events all over Europe and the United States. Nigun often worked together with guest musicians, such as John Zorn, Don Byron, Frank London and Matt Darriau (Klezmatics), Steven Bernstein (Sex Mob) and Miklos Lukacs (Charles Lloyd Wild Man Dance Project). 

Nigun spent a decade building solid klez-jazz credentials in Europe, headlining the revolution that saw the klezmer genre revitalized and taken to new directions thanks to a generation of supremely gifted musicians. Bandleader András Párniczky stands out as a guitar player whose technique and musicality has garnered exceptional praise, securing the band's place in summer festivals and coveted clubs across the old continent. The band's latest project is the supremely difficult undertaking of transposing works by Bartók to their musical universe. Never easily discouraged by a challenge, the band proves its chops as arrangers in uncovering often forgotten folk and jazz influences or kinship in the oeuvre of Central Europe's most famous modernist composer as they bring to the stage a selection of Bartók pieces.

The project was invited to New York by Balassi Institute - Hungarian Cultural Center as part of the Modernity X Hungary ( program series and has been enriched with a more pronounced Jewish layer for its current iteration to highlight the intimate relationship between the musical heritages of the region.

Bartok was an outstanding composer. He was fascinated not just by folk music, but jazz and musical improvisation. A testimony to this interest are his Eight Improvisations on Hungarian Peasant Songs. He also composed a musical piece to Benny Goodman, who was the most successful musician of the Swing Era. Capitalizing on his affinity to both of these genres, Párniczky composed a repertoire based on Bartók’s pieces, consequently the music of the quartet is simultaneously complex and emotional. Bartók's musical genius appears while the band maintains their own recognizable sound.

The performance is sponsored by the Balassi Insitute and the National Cultural Fund of Hungary.

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