Katalin Koltai’s work expands the idiom of the guitar through the development of new technology and novel repertoire

As an innovative guitarist, practice-based researcher and inventor of the Ligeti Guitar, Katalin expands the horizons of guitar performance. She develops repertoire with novel features, utilising new technology in arrangements and collaborative work with composers. She has been at the forefront of premiering music by leading contemporary composers.

Katalin Koltai is an internationally established guitarist, chamber musician, and researcher who completed her PhD at the International Guitar Research Centre, University of Surrey. She developed the Guitar Magnet Capo System and the Ligeti Guitar (2022), making a significant contribution to the guitar's evolution. This invention expands the harmonic and voicing possibilities of the guitar by allowing the rapid transformation of open strings. Katalin produced an extensive number of arrangements for solo guitar and ensemble, featuring works by Bartók, Ligeti, Chopin, Saariaho, Ravel, and Kurtág. Commissioning and premiering new music, her most recent collaborations have included working with György Kurtág, David Gorton, and Gráinne Mulvey.

Katalin's work has received widespread recognition in both academia and the music industry. She has performed as a soloist at prestigious venues, including the Royal Festival Hall, Kings Place, Budapest Music Center, Kuhmo Festival, and GFA. She released recordings with various labels and published music with Doblinger Austria. Her publications have appeared in Soundboard Scholar and Bloomsbury Academic, with presentations at leading conferences. She received the American Musical Instrument Society's Gribbon Research Award and the Royal Musical Association's Frank Howes Grant.

Since 2009, Katalin has been the guitar soloist for the Hungarian State Opera and the UMZE Ensemble. She is the artistic leader of the interdisciplinary new music ensemble, the Barefoot Musicians. Since 2002, she has been collaborating in a flute-guitar duo with Noemi Gyori, creating joint arrangements as part of the Classical Flute and Guitar Project.

Katalin has also established herself as a producer of musical theatre and a community music leader, including productions with Krétakör and Katona József Theatre, and the cross-arts youth series at the Museum of Fine Arts Budapest. In recognition of her work with marginalised groups, especially children in segregated Roma settlements, she received the Junior Prima Prize in Education in Hungary. Katalin serves as the Chair of the Banjo-Mandolin-Guitar Working Group of the American Musical Instrument Society and the Composer-Performer Collaboration Study Group of the Royal Musical Association.