Béla Katona: A Teacher Through and Through

T7611_Jeno Hubay, Hungarian violinist, composer and music teacher and pupils c 1934-5

One of the 20th century’s greatest violin pedagogues, Béla Katona would have turned 100 this month. Tully Potter charts his life and career, and speaks to former pupils – mainly at London’s Trinity College of Music – about the success of his teaching methods

Among the great violin teachers of the 20th century the name of Béla Katona may not resonate as loudly as, say, Carl Flesch or Ivan Galamian, but he was an important pedagogue who kept the Jenő Hubay tradition going and brought it to Britain and Japan. His pupils testify to the humanity and inspiration that underlaid his apparently strict regime.

He was born in Pozsony (the Hungarian name for Bratislava), the cosmopolitan city at the hub of Austria, Slovakia and Hungary, on 21 April 1920; so he was around 15 months older than Tibor Varga and four years older than Johanna Martzy. The name Katona translates as ‘soldier’. It was a musical family – his children think Béla’s father was a violinist, but he never spoke about his early life…

Already subscribed? Please sign in

Subscribe to continue reading…

We’re delighted that you are enjoying our website. For a limited period, you can try an online subscription to The Strad completely free of charge.

  • Free 7-day trial

    Not sure about subscribing? Sign up now to read this article in full and you’ll also receive unlimited access to premium online content, including the digital edition and online archive for 7 days.

    No strings attached – we won’t ask for your card details

  • Subscribe 

    No more paywalls. To enjoy the best in-depth features and analysis from The Strad’s latest and past issues, upgrade to a subscription now. You’ll also enjoy regular issues and special supplements* and access to an online archive of issues back to 2010.


* Issues and supplements are available as both print and digital editions. Online subscribers will only receive access to the digital versions.