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Friday, Jan. 19, 2007
LASZLO BERKI AND HIS GYPSY BAND
Violinist keeps father's flame alive
By MARIKO KATO
A program of lively Gypsy music will be performed in Nagoya and Osaka on Feb. 2-3.
The concert will be led by violinist Laszlo Berki, who will be teaming up with his Gypsy Band. Berki and his band regularly tour the world, including, in recent years, frequent (and acclaimed) visits to Japan.
The band brings together the most talented Hungarian Gypsy performers, and is well-known for its faithful take on the genre. They will be joined by dancers in traditional costume.
Laszlo Berki was born into a family heralded for their authentic Gypsy music. Berki received training from his pioneering father, also named Laszlo, from a very young age, forming his band so that he could realize his father's wish of introduce Hungarian Gypsy music onto the world stage. His technique arguably exceeds that of his father's, as he occupies the soloist's seat with the 100-member strong Hungarian State Folk Ensemble.
The program is a colorful combination of the traditional Gypsy repertoire and classic dance music by the all-time greats, including Brahms' "Hungarian Dance No. 5" and "Zigeunerweisen," the most popular work by Pablo de Sarasate, the Spanish virtuoso violinist and composer of the Romantic period. The light, sophisticated ambience of the Viennese salon will get a breath of Gypsy fire in the "Radetzky March" and "Trisch-Trasch Polka," by Johann Strauss I and Johann Strauss II respectively -- another great father-and-son combination that left a much-treasured musical legacy.
Laszlo Berki and his Gypsy Band with Dancers play Aichi Prefectural Arts Theater Concert Hall, Nagoya, Feb. 2 (6.45 p.m. start, tickets 5,000 yen at  02-9999); and the Symphony Hall, Osaka on Feb. 3 (2 p.m., tickets 3,000-4,000 yen yen at  6453-6000).