Jozef luptak


Jozef Lupták is one of the most prominent figures in Slovak musical scene. He graduated from the University of Performing Arts (VŠMU) in his hometown, Bratislava and the Royal Academy of Music in London (R. Cohen). He holds the “Award of the Minister of Culture” for his successes as a concert cello soloist and artistic director and founder of the Konvergencie Chamber Music Festival (Convergences), which from its foundation in 1999 has become one of the most prestigious music events in Slovakia. Jozef was nominated for several prestigious awards (Crystal Wing, Tatra Banka Foundation Prize, Czech Lion and Sun in the Net for his music for the film Amnestie) and was awarded several international Prizes, such as “Cello Competition of Slovak Conservatories” in 1986, “Jury Prize” at the Murcia Cello Competition in Spain, the “BANFF Centre Long Term Residency Scholarship”, the “May Mukle Cello Prize” at the Royal Academy of Music in London and in 2009, the “Frico Kafenda Award”.

Jozef is actively performing on stages at home and abroad throughout the world. Despite the pandemic, during the latest seasons he has managed to accomplish several interesting concerts. Among them are the Czech première of the cello concerto “Presence by Peteris Vasks, with Ensemble Opera Diversa; a recital in Slovak Philharmonic; and a JL tour in Slovak towns with the music of J. S. Bach and other composers. His concert highlights from the past years include performing with The Hilliard Ensemble, recitals in San Marino, Rome or the USA, performing during the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, concerts at festivals in Charleston (with Robert Cohen) and Arcus Temporum in Pannonhalma (with Gija Kancheli and Gidon Kremer) as well as world premieres of the Cello Concertos by Peter Machajdík (BHS) Jevgeni Irshai (Convergence Festival) and Daniel Matej (with Slovak Chamber Orchestra). During the lockdown he was one of the first Slovak artists who managed to transfer his and the festival activities in a full-bodied and professional way to the online space. They include two online concerts linking a trio of cities, Portland, London and Bratislava.  

A special place in his recent musical explorings belongs to multicultural and multiethnical projects – afterPhurikane (ancient Roma songs played anew by proffesional musicians and authentic Roma singers) and Chassidic Songs (respective to its name a project which he created with the Bratislava Rabbi Baruch Myers). Both of them were issued on CDs and are sought by audiences and festival organisers throughout Europe.

His path as a concert soloist has brought him to play with conductors like Andrew Parrott, Jiří Bělohlávek, Leoš Svárovský, Daniel Gazon, Domonkos Héja or Andrew Mogrelia. He plays regularly with renown chamber music partners from Slovakia and abroad – Nora Skuta, Igor Karško, Ronald Šebesta, Robert Cohen, Boris Lenko, etc. But Jozef does not limit himself to the “classical”. Being very open and versatile, he often joins cross-genre projects and cooperated with such artists as Marián Varga (Slovak rock legendary pianist/composer), Julee Glaub (American singer), Jeff Johnson (… singer and producer), Brian Dunning (Irish flutist), Krisztián Gergye (Hungarian dancer). For the past two years he’s been developing an international project “Building Bridges” in which he joins famous Norwegian musicians Steinar Raknes and Nils Okland in new musical adventures.

He regularly leads master classes and chamber music courses (Italy, Hungary, USA, England), which in the past ten years he has organised also as part of the festival activities. Trying to transfer his knowledge and experience, he’s also teaching professor at the Music Consevatory in Bratislava and the Academy of Fine Arts in Banska Bystrica. 

His London experience together with the missing chamber music scene in his hometown inspired him to create an international chamber music festival Konvergencie (Convergence). From its first year in 2000 the festival has received superior reviews by both professional and general audience and is marked by a very special atmosphere. Jozef, as the founder and artistic director, is carefully choosing projects to bring the best quality of performance and unexpected artistic combinations. He has introduced many prominent artists to the Slovak audience – The Hilliard Ensemble, Jan Garbarek, Doric String Quartett, Fine Arts Quartett, Brodsky Quartett, Dominic Miller, Arve Henriksen, Isabelle van Keulen, Susanna Wallumrod, Avi Avital, Lori Cotler – just to name a few of them. 

Part of Jozef’s search for his own musical expression is active communication and work with contemporary composers (Tenney, Krauze, Godár, Zagar, Irshai, Matej, Ayres, Wolff, Jeffery, Machajdík, etc.). Natural outcome of these collaborations is a number of world premiere compositions and recordings. His discography includes the World Premiere CD of Vladimír Godár’s “Music for Cello”, 2-CD of complete Bach Solo Cello Suites (first Slovak recording) as well as his own projects “CELLO” and “Free in One”– recordings of his own compositions including his speciality – improvisations using cello, his own voice and beatbox. He’s produced a series of live recordings from the Festival Konvergencie as well as an internationally acclaimed CD “Lullabies”. Presently he’s preparing a new recording of the complete Bach Cello Suites.

Jozef is married to Katarina, an architect and they have three children, Jonathan, Elisha and Leo.

"...Jozef Luptak is a truly 21st century artist. He is multi-talented: an exceptional and eloquent cellist, a natural communicator - both verbally and through music in traditional, contemporary and improvised forms - and an inspired 'organiser', bringing wide ranging arts to audiences in innovative and uplifting ways. Residing within Jozef's creativeness is a warm and embracing personality and I immensely enjoy spending time with him. It has also been my privilege to work with Jozef on many occasions over the years and to watch his fascinating development."

"For years I had the privilege to make music with Jozef. Incredible stylistic range (classical, avantguarde, improvised music) excellent control and high class performances, highest intelectual and instrumental skills, creative mind, character, courage, and last, but by no means least, an exceptional cellist. He deserves his place in the world of cello elite."