The cimbalom is the hammered dulcimer of Hungarian folk musicians, the basis of their orchestra. The cimbalom we know today was perhaps developed in 13th C. Persia. In Iran and the Caucasus region it has remained popular to the present day, under the name of santur. The original version of the cimbalom, placed on a table and having neither legs nor damper pedal, once enjoyed popularity throughout Europe, from Austria to Britain and from Spain to Italy. In Hungary today it is call "kiscimbalom", meaning small cimbalom. In the 1870's Jozsef Schunda's instrument factory in Budapest developed the modern enlarged cimbalom. Large cimbaloms stand on 4 legs, with a 4-octave chromatic range, and damper pedals like a piano. The early smaller cimbalom formed part of the earliest known folk band, that of Panna Czinka, who died in 1772. The large cimbalom is now a fundamental part of the folk band.
Alex Udvary began his musical career studying the piano at the Cleveland Institute of Music, and is now an accomplished pianist. He learned the cimbalom from his father. Among cimbalom players in America today, Alex Udvary is considered the best. His name is known even in Europe. Frequently, when European artists are on tour here, he is asked to accompany them.
He is the only cimbalom player in America that has had a television special about the cimbalom. He has also been featured on a weekly radio program. He has appeared five times with the Cleveland Symphony. Lorin Maazel, then musical director of the Cleveland Orchestra, arranged several pieces in which he wrote cimbalom parts for Alex. These pieces have been recorded with the Cleveland Orchestra. He has also performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra and has made a recording of the Hary Janos by Kodaly, with Eugene Ormandy conducting. Conductor-composer Janos Kiss has written three pieces for cimbalom and orchestra especially for Alex. He has also performed three times with the Detroit Symphony, twice with the New Orleans symphony, as well as symponies in Cincinnati, Tulsa, Nashville, Akron, Canton, Dayton, Youngstown, Erie, Syracuse, Macomb, La Crosse, Elkhart and many other orchestras too numerous to mention. He was musical director for the Hungarian Theatre and Dance Company of Cleveland. He has also given numerous lectures about the cimbalom, among them at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn. He arranged and composed music both for the cimbalom and his ensemble. He composed the words and music to 'Vikings Fight Song' for Cleveland State University.
He was asked to perform for the Prime Minister of Hungary. He is recognized by Budapest as the premier cimbalom player in America, and rated with the ten best in the world.
He appeared and played in a Wendy's commercial that won first prize for the best commercial. He recently recorded an album with musicians from Hungary's prestigious State Folk Ensemble. Aside from a concert career, Alex has appeared at numerous Holiday Inns, Sheratons, Ramadas and some of the most elite French and Italian restaurants in the country. He is as adept at playing the piano as the cimbalom. His ability to switch from piano to the cimbalom creates a pace that is never boring. His repertoire includes American standards, show tunes, popular, classical, and the music of almost every European country. He has more than a dozen recordings to his credit.
He has performed for: Zsa Zsa Gabor, Dwight Eisenhower, Edie Adams, Jimmy Durante, Bill Dana, Paul Lukas, Jack Carter, Mitzi Gayor, Kaye Stevens, Julie Nixon, Ella Fitzgerald, Yul Brynner, Buddy Hackett, Van Cliburn, Itzhak Perlman, producer Joseph Pasternak and others.
Whether it be a concert, festival or night club, the most discriminating music lover will have an enjoyable time listening to master musician Alex Udvary.
Alex Udvary is offering new and used cimbaloms for sale. All new cimbaloms from the concert model to the smaller models are made in the European tradition with the finest materials available. Our materials exceed those of Europe. Used cimbaloms have been reworked and brought up to professional standards. All come with a diagram of the notes, two pairs of mallets and a tuning key.
We also have tapes available: