Jennifer Ellis Kampani
She’s my vocal sister. I met her at Guildhall in 94, we were classmates, roommates, she was and still is my English teacher, so if you notice anything funny in my English, that’s from her. She was my guide in the big city of London, and she is one of my best friends, someone very important in my life despite of the fact that we live so very far from each other. She came over to sing and play with me a few times, to record two CDs for Hungaroton. Singing with her is as if we were twins in music. Jennie lives in Washington DC.
She’s new in my life, though we’ve known each other for many years. The first time our eyes and our voices truly met was at the Early Music Summer Academy in Tokaj, three years ago. Both being sopranos in this small country of ours we never sang in the same production, we were even supposed to dislike each other because we were considered to belong to different ”cliques”. But in Tokaj we had to teach together, give concerts together and think together, so we decided we really liked it all. We’ve been working ever since, giving numerous concerts with very interesting programs from Purcell to Britten. She’s a great singer and friend, I’m honoured to know her.
A wonderful guy, conductor and musical director of the Theater of Szolnok. It’s a privilege to work with him, because he’s witty, funny, passionate and smart and has endless patience for sopranos. He never uses the words „piano” or „forte” as instructions, instead he uses poetry I would never dare to translate. Sometimes none of us understand him but nevertheless it seems to work.
I owe lots of thanks to him for helping my career start. We met ten years ago in Dresden. He was young and studied harpsichord with John Toll. I just finished at Guildhall, so we did Purcell songs to John, and it was magic to hear his views on music, playing and life. Now being a well established conductor in Hungary, Gyuri gives me a good amount of work. We both changed a lot. He became calmer and I became more precise and better prepared. That helps.
The orchestra was founded by Slovakian violin player Milos Valent. He and his musician friends were members of the former Musica Aeterna, a State sponsored early music ensemble in Bratislava. What can I say about them? I love them, they are my friends and they are the most beloved, the best orchestra I’ve ever worked with. I’m sure there are people who start rehearsals more on time, are better organized, but one that plays with such passion and such energy and clarity, with such love of life and music is rare to be found. They are the kind of musicians who, after days of endless recording sessions would sit in a pub with their instruments, and play Slovakian and gypsy folk music, and if I’m there as well, they’d play a few Hungarian tunes and have me shout at the top of my lungs.
This is pure love. A jazz vocal ensemble of eight singers, four boys and four girls. It’s a hobby that gives joy to us. Not all of us are professional singers; there are teachers, an organist and an economist - some really clever people. We’ve been singing together for a long time and are very good friends. To me being a member of this group gives the pleasure of no-responsibility singing, freedom, fun, love. I hope we’ll have tons of concerts as long as we wish to stay together.