In November 2021, cellist Dóra Kokas has been honoured by the Hungarian state by granting her the famous master instrument made by Domenico Montagnana (1686–1750) in 1730 owned by the state.
The young artist gave her first concert with the instrument last November in the Great Hall of the Academy of Music. Under the baton of György Vashegyi, she performed Brahms’ Double Concerto with Concerto Budapest, together with her sister Katalin Kokas.
“I had had the instrument for a week,” Dóra Kokas recalled to our newspaper, “I experimented with it, I had to get used to it, but from the first notes I felt an indescribable feeling that only this instrument can give. That one week has changed my life. It immediately took my playing to a new level. It opened up completely new opportunities for me.”
The instrument now received by Dora Kokas was once played by Martin Lovett, cellist of the Amadeus Quartet, and Károly Botvay and László Mező, cellists of the world-famous Bartók String Quartet.
“Wood has a special memory,” says Kokas. “Inheriting an instrument also means that you can feel the soul of the previous owner. In every moment that it is played, there is the voice of Mr. Mező, which I cherish in order not to lost it!”
The unusual instrument was also the subject of curiosity for Mischa Maisky, who recently visited Budapest and also plays a Montagnana cello. “It was a special feeling to see these two instruments side by side, as there is only a 10-year difference between the ‘brothers’”, recalled Dóra Kokas.
Domenico Montagnana opened his own workshop in Venice in 1712. He made sophisticated instruments specifically for solo playing, which were a clear inspiration for the later Guadagnini instruments.