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first_img LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Facebook Advertisement Advertisement When the Hungarian Quartet disbanded in 1972, the Banff Centre offered Székely and his wife the chance to live at the centre for the rest of their lives. Until his death in 2001 at the age of 97, Székely taught countless musicians, but he was no easy touch.In 1992, it was a compliment—perhaps the first they’d ever received from Székely—that gave Shiffman and his colleagues in the St. Lawrence String Quartet the first intimation that they would go on to win the competition. “He kind of hobbled over to us backstage after the final round,” Shiffman says. “I remember it quite vividly because he was dabbing his nose—it was bleeding, as it often did because of the high altitude—and said, ‘very good job.’” Barry Shiffman remembers it well. “You went to Lloyd Hall and you knocked quietly on Zoltán’s door. He opened it and welcomed you into his world—he had his Stradivarius and his old LP player—and he would coach you on music.”Shiffman is the executive director of the Banff International String Quartet Competition, but some 25 years ago he was a young musician studying at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity (as it is now known). His memories remain vivid in large part because “Zoltán” was Zoltán Székely, a “Yoda-like figure—he even looked like Yoda” who had been first violinist of the Hungarian Quartet, as well as Béla Bartók’s friend and recital partner. “If you played Bartók quartets, it was like Bartók was living at the Banff Centre,” Shiffman says.Shiffman cites Székely and Tom and Isobel Rolston as proof that chamber music has long been a part of the Banff Centre, a fact that made it only natural that the place would play host to a major string-quartet competition. He calls Tom Rolston “the father of music in this country” (he prefaces the comment with an apology to Shauna Rolston, the famed cellist who counts Tom as her actual father). Login/Register With: Advertisement Twitterlast_img