Hungarian violin and viola virtuoso Katalin Kokas began studying the violin under Mrs Béla Gyánó in the city of Kaposvár when she was only five years old. Her tuition continued in Pécs with György Papp and then at the age of 11 she was admitted to the Liszt Academy’s School for Exceptional Young Talents, where her mentors were Ferenc Halász and then Dénes Kovács. At 16, she received a scholarship at Toronto’s Royal Conservatory of Music, where she was a student of Lóránd Fenyves.
Following her time in Canada, Kokas returned to the Academy of Music where, tutored by Eszter Perényi, she graduated with honours. Her education was further enhanced by frequent visits to the private lessons and masterclasses of Ferenc Rados, Igor Ozim, Endre Wolf, Tibor Varga, György Pauk, Dénes Zsigmondy, György Kurtág, Jaime Laredo, and Leon Fleischer.
After winning national competitions in Hungary, in 1994 she was awarded first prize at the Kocian Violin Competition in the Czech Republic and then in 1996 won the Concerto Competition at the Toronto Royal Conservatory. In 1997 she came first in the Semmering Bartók Violin Competition and she won the Martinu Foundation Violin Competition in 1998. In 1999 she took first prize at the Carl Flesch International Violin Competition, and in 2002 she was awarded first prize at the International József Szigeti Violin Competition.
Katalin is now one of the most outstanding figures in Hungary in the field of classical music. In addition to solo concerts, chamber music, performances with string quartets, and teaching all play prominent roles in her life. Since 2002, she has regularly held masterclasses all over the world and she has been an associate professor at the Liszt Academy of Music since 2004.
Katalin is a founding member of the Kelemen Quartet and she has appeared with them throughout Europe and also in the USA and Australia. The Quartet has performed with such major musicians as Joshua Bell, Ferenc Rados, József Lendvai, Maxim Rysanov, José Gallardo, Nicolas Altstaedt, and Frankl Péter.
Katalin Kokas plays a 1698 Testore violin, which is loaned to her by the Hungarian State, and an 1863 Luigi Fabris viola.