Profile of the performer Gyorgy Cziffra:
Hungarian virtuoso pianist. b. November 5, 1921 – January 17, 1994. He was born in Budapest. By the age of five, he was improvising popular show tunes in bars and circuses. He studied at the Franz Liszt Academy, and eventually staged sensational concerts around the world. He always performed with a large leather wristband, as a memento of his years in labour. Cziffra also made a famous transcription of [a=Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov]'s Flight Of The Bumblebee, written in interlocking octaves.
In the studio, Cziffra is most known for his dazzling recordings of [a=Franz Liszt]'s virtuoso works. He also recorded many of [a=Frédéric Chopin]'s compositions and those of [a=Robert Schumann].
Cziffra died in Senlis, France, 72 years old, from a heart attack resulting from series of complications from lung cancer due to smoking and alcohol. His wife, Soleilka, is of Egyptian origin. His father is György Cziffra Sr., a cimbalom player who played in cabaret halls and restaurants in Paris in the 1910s. His son, György Cziffra, Jr. (died 1981 by setting fire to his own Paris apartment) was a brilliant pianist but chose to be a conductor instead. Cziffra was so affected by his son's death that from that day on he never performed or recorded with an orchestra again.