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Zsofia Stefan is a winner of multiple international bassoon competitions. She has been celebrated at many national and county competitions and events. She continued her university studies at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music as a student of György Lakatos, György Keszler and Tibor Fülemile, and was awarded a degree with honors (2007). She then went on to study the bassoon under Richard Galler for a year at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna. She went on to receive a Yehudi Menuhin "Live Music Now” scholarship (2008) in Vienna. She was a bassoon teacher at the Ernő Dohnányi Music High School from 2008-2012. She is a founding member of the Corridor Bassoon Quartet which released its first album, Corridooors, in 2014. She is playing with the Concerto Budapest orchestra since 2012 as their principal bassoonist. “Exploring Enchanted Gardens”, her first solo album was released in 2018.

Bio

Actually already at the age of 6 I wanted to become a singer or a psychologist. At that time I had no idea about it, but today I believe that somehow with the bassoon I became both at the same time. As an always dreamy, philosophical character I am constantly looking for something: sometimes for the novelty, sometimes for the familiar. I was always attracted to the unusual, somewhat eccentric things and solutions. Even after several international competition victories I feel it important to play not only for my own or my musician partners' entertainment, but also for the delight of the audience.

I was born on 5th March 1984 in Veszprem. My paternal grandfather was a horn player, the deputy conductor of the air force orchestra. My father is a fan of Hungarian folk songs, life artist and eternal optimist. Due to my flutist mother and the TV-teddy bear I began playing the bassoon at the age of 8. Until the completion of my studies I was lucky enough to attend the best schools in the country, and learn from the best teachers. From aunt Gabi Fatrai how to feel the bassoon, from Professor Vajda how to sing on the instrument, while Lakatos showed its extremes. I put my acquired knowledge to use for nine semesters of teaching high school musician seedlings in Veszprem. Since February 2012 I am the principal bassoonist at Concerto Budapest Orchestra.

During concert tours I could get around China eight and France several times, and performed outside Hungary in several cities of Europe, including Italy, Spain, Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands.




Studies:
1992-1998
Antal Csermak Music School, Veszprem
Gabriella Fatrai
1998-2002
Bela Bartok Music High School, Budapest
Jozsef Vajda
2002-2007 
Franz Liszt Academy of Music, Budapest
Gyorgy Lakatos, Gyorgy Keszler, Tibor Fulemile 
2008-2009
University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna
Richard Galler

Workplaces:
2005-2012
Symphonic Orchestra of Kaposvar
principal bassoonist
2008-2012
Erno Dohnanyi Music High School, Veszprem
bassoon teacher
2011-
Corridor Bassoon Quartet
founding member
2012-
Concerto Budapest Orchestra
principal bassoonist, section leader

Competition results:
2004
International Imre Weidinger Bassoon Competition
I. prize
2007
International Michal Spisak Bassoon Competition, Poland
I. prize 

"Zsofia Stefan excels precisely at what is the most important to me: the personification of sounds."

Andras Keller, conductor of Concerto Budapest

Interview 

Timea Kokai Nagy 2015

When did you start playing music?
At the age of 7 I started to attend music preschool and at the age of 8 playing the bassoon. Fortunately, even then I was tall enough to reach the instrument...
Why did you choose this instrument?
When I was a kid sometimes I sat down next to my mum when she was playing the flute, which I really liked. She wished me to I choose the same instrument or play the piano, but I somehow felt none of them being the "right one". I was about six years old when she took me to a teachers' performance in the music school, where I then - after first being confronted with the bassoon - firmly declared that I will be a bassoonist. At least my mother remembers so. But I just remember keep looking forward to bedtime television show, because what made me fall in complete love had been the bassoon music of the TV teddy bear.
If you should pick another instrument, what would that be?
I would sing. But if an instrument, then the bass-clarinet.
What music piece do you like to play the most? What music piece do you like to listen to the most?
I find myself the most in playful, romantic, dreamy pieces, for me Chopin is a composer like this, but unfortunately he did not write anything for bassoon outside of the bassoon parts of piano concerts. I also really like the music of Debussy, Ravel, Tchaikovsky and Puccini.
Which is your most important experience related to music?
Well, maybe as a girl this is not so embarrassing, so I admit it: when I first heard Mozart's only bassoon concerto as a child, I found it so beautiful that I cried over it.
What are you most proud of your music career so far?
My two international competition victories and being the principal bassoonist of Concerto Budapest.
What is your most important goal related to music?
I would be happy if music could get closer to everyone's heart, and more and more people would understand its real "language". If more people could hear that a music piece is not only a set of chords, soft tranquility or noise, but an adventurous journey: stories of our lives, landscapes, moods and jokes. But perhaps the best is that everyone can hear their own story it in.