Roby Lakatos Kills it Softly at Koerner Hall
"But the musical sensitivity Lakatos displays as player and leader, carries you past the admiration of prowess, into a realm of pure, physical abandon to the power of music."
— Stanley Fefferman,
'the Devil's Fiddler' Burns Up the Stage
"The pace and tempo were never static for too long, and the ensemble managed to balance both improvisation and classical structure. Lakatos exuded control over his music but never gave up the agility of his violin."
— Bryan S. Erickson,
Lakatos group glides from Gypsy rock to Brahms
"The only thing faster than Lakatos's flying fingers were Jenö István Lisztes's flying mallets. In his jawdropping solo section of Rimsky-Korsakov's 'The Flight of the Bumblebee,' those mallets were a blur. Even Lisztes's hands were a blur. Yet you could make out every whir of wing, and every pollen-laden stamen."
— Jeffrey Gantz,
"It was all there, lifted from the book of fiddler’s virtuosity: the spiccato, col legno, jeté and legato bowing, pizzicato that looked more like two arachnids wrestling on the strings, and fleet passages that defied the physics of Lakatos’ fingers." Read More...
— Keith Powers,
Boston Classical Review
"On Friday night, thanks to Celebrity Series of Boston, Sanders Theatre resounded with the sounds of Hungarian Gypsy music masters, the Roby Lakatos Ensemble. The musical selections ranged from traditional to popular to classical to musical and film soundtrack. The musicians reveled in the music and the technical mastery of rapid passages or burnished lyricism, while the audience thrilled to the glorious sounds and excitement of the music." Read More...
— Cashman Kerr Prince,
The Boston Musical Intelligencer
"What he and his ensemble brought to town for Saturday night's finale of the Ventura Music Festival was music with a free spirit so deeply ingrained that even those least familiar with the genre couldn't help but catch the fever." Read More...
— Rita Moran,
Ventura County Star
Roby Lakatos Ensemble
"Lakatos's jaw-dropping technique encompassed intricate double-handed pizzicati and exquisite, fluttering harmonics up and down the violin's neck. But he could also make his instrument sing with tenderness, as he did on Legrand's Papa Can You Hear Me? and Piazzolla's Chiquilin de Bachin."
— Jessica Nicholas,
The Age (Australia)
The Assad Brothers/Roby Lakatos
"If the Assad brothers brought the feeling, the Roby Lakatos Ensemble brought the fire. Lakatos donned a sparkling blazer with a matching belt buckle and red leather pants, and the music shifted direction as quickly as the bow of his violin. Also known as the 'devil's fiddler,' Lakatos and his band showcased an eclectic range of influences that spanned classical, jazz, and even hinted at blues. They even added rock n' roll flavor with solos by each member, including the cimbalom player."
— Austin Floyd,
"Lakatos, quite simply, is amazing to behold. He brought out a mighty arsenal of fiddle showmanship spanning the gamut: During his fast solos, in which he plays over a dozen notes a second, his wrist is the only part of his right arm that moves. During slow sections, his robust sustain and vibrato pulse the notes into the deepest recesses of the theatre." Read More...
— Jim Morekis,
"No two Lakatos concerts are alike because of the huge role improvisation plays in both his Gypsy and jazz-influenced music. 'The (improvisation) comes from the public, the atmosphere, so we never play two similar concerts,' Lakatos said." Read More...
— Emily Goldman,
Savannah Morning News
"Mixing deep musical sensitivity with jaw-dropping speed - one observer calculates that Lakatos can play 1200 notes a minute - he is not only the world's premier Gypsy violinist, but one of the premier violinists in the world, period." Read More...
— Jim Morekis,
"'I never play the same concert two times,' he insists, explaining how he bases the direction his performances take from the atmosphere of the audience and the hall. 'I prefer all people [in the audience] dancing and being happy.'" Read More...
— Jerry Ozipko,
See Magazine (Edmonton)
"He may be known as the devil's fiddler, but Roby Lakatos prefers to believe his music has heavenly origins." Read More...
— Elizabeth Withey,
"And Lakatos? He was exactly as the audience must have hoped. As his diminutive figure strode out on stage, moustache immaculately curled to a fine point, baggy leather trousers held up with a buckled belt, wing collar tied with a black ribbon and a diamanté clasp, and a gloriously shiny jacket, there was no doubt who was to be the star of the show. He struck his bow deep into the strings to pull out a series of painfully sad notes before whipping into a series of quick, vigorous melodies, then slowed into a sliding, Grappelli-like swooping jazz with gliding portamentos, giving way to his companions for their impressive solos, then accelerating into a wild on-the-edge offbeat dance. The double-stopping, the harmonics, the fluttering pizzicato all seem like child's play in his hands, without even the sober theatrics of most classical violinists." Read More...
— Gemma Champ,
The National (Abu Dhabi)
"His musical prowess borders on genius. Lakatos follows in the footsteps of masters such as Liszt and Brahms in combining classical music with pulsating, vibrant Hungarian Gypsy overtones. The audience simply couldn't get enough and their applause was loud and prolonged, as befitted this man of towering musical stature." Read More...
— Xpress (Abu Dhabi)
"Lakatos' virtuosity and energy puts him clearly in the classical world. Yehudi Menuhin was a long-time fan and Lakatos' growing reputation has seen him performing with the London Symphony Orchestra. But rather than solely a crossing over between Gipsy folk and classical musical, Lakatos has also branched out further, experimenting with jazz, but still keeping a characteristic love of musical colour and virtuoso display. Lakatos seems singularly comfortable skipping between musical genres, though he remains keen to emphasise his respect for traditional classical music." Read More...
— Feargus O'Sullivan,
The National (Abu Dhabi)
"Roby Lakatos, the so-called 'Devil's Fiddler' and a seventh-generation violin player in the Hungarian tradition, recently performed at Midtown's Carnegie Hall." [see video online
] Read More...
— George Whipple,
Sound Check: This week's picks in music.
"It's probably safe to assume that many Americans haven't heard real gypsy music played by Romanian Roma. It is rawboned and propulsive stuff played with gritty virtuosity by men and women who have lived a rough and tumble life. Roby Lakatos comes from the first family of Roma violinists. He is sometimes referred to as 'the devil's fiddler.' He brings his ensemble and plenty of fire and brimstone to the Modlin Center."
"Virtuoso is an overused term these days but in Roby Lakatos's case, it may even be an understatement.... Terrific stuff from a band that makes playing exceptional music seem as natural as breathing." Read More...
— Rob Adams,
Glasgow Herald (Scotland)
"Widely recognised for developing a unique style of playing, he blends the fiery rhythms of his gipsy roots with classical technique and jazz improvisation. Performing with a string and piano ensemble, Lakatos aims to stir up the wandering spirit in his audience. Expect to leave with your blood pumping." Read More...
— Heather Crumley,
"You don't have to be a jazz fan to admire Roby Lakatos. Back in London after five years, this wonderful gipsy violinist has become the unofficial world champ on the death of Taraf de Haidjouks's hero, an elderly icon who could play the fiddle with a length of ordinary cotton thread." Read More...
— Jack Massarik,
Evening Standard (London)
"The familiar Gypsy violin sound was given added depth by Lakatos, a direct descendent of Janos Bihari, considered the king of Gypsy violinists. His self-effacing style won the audience early, and his massive skills kept them in the palm of his hand throughout the performance." Read More...
— Michael Muckian,
Madison Capital Times
"If violinist Roby Lakatos were paid on the basis of how many notes he plays in any given performance, he'd probably be the richest musician in the world. His performance Saturday night at Royce Hall was a stunning display of finger-blurring virtuosity. But it was much more, as well." Read More...
— Don Heckman,
Los Angeles Times
"With his boxer's frame, moustache and long jacket, he could have walked out of an 1860s daguerreotype. As for his playing, its immense control and exuberant inventiveness defied belief. I doubt whether I've ever seen a musician of such calm strength and charisma."
— Daily Telegraph (UK)
"But when Roby Lakatos spun out his first cadenza, the earth stood still. His band are Gypsies like him, and each can carry an evening. Lakatos left us with birdsong in our ears."
— The Independent (UK)
"Roby Lakatos who, accompanied by his lugubrious but talented five-piece 'Gypsy Band', slithered and scampered his way - at about 100 notes a second - through four show stoppers, each more preposterously exuberant than the last."
— The Times (London)