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Posted by Marianne Rygner & Dorte Nørgaard, The Danish Suzuki Institute on 26 October 2017

On Friday the 22nd of September 2017 Our Dear Béla Detreköy Passed Away Peacefully.

Bela Detrekoy2

Photo by kind permission of Zerlina Rygner 

It is with deep gratitude that the Danish Suzuki Institute remembers this Great and Humble Human Spirit.

A fabulous musician, violinist of the highest grade and graduate from the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest in his native Hungary, he came to Denmark at the end of WW2 and found the love of his life and built a family and a career.  Béla had his debut as soloist in 1947 in Copenhagen and performed extensively as soloist and chamber musician in Denmark and Scandinavia until '66.  Besides this he was a member of The Royal Danish Orchestra '53-'66. 

For a tenure of eight months, covering the winter season 1965/66, Béla and his wife, Tove, were appointed resident artists and teachers in the Faroe Islands. 

In '67 Béla was appointed Associate Professor at Western Washington State University in Bellingham, and Béla, Tove, and their two sons, Stefan and Michael, moved to the USA. During the years in Bellingham Tove and Béla met Dr. Suzuki and experienced the The Mother Tongue Method for the first time.  Tove subsequently began studying with Dr. Suzuki and later - in the summer of '75 - Béla also studied with Dr. Suzuki at The Talent Education Institute in Matsumoto.  Béla had a natural inborn understanding of The Mother Tongue Method and Béla and Tove became lifelong friends with Dr. Suzuki and his wife.

Returning to Denmark in '71 Béla became 1st concertmaster of the Danish Radio Sinfonietta until '77.

In '77 Tove founded the Danish Suzuki Institute (DSI) - a private music school in Copenhagen - together with a group of parents, and needless to say, Béla was co-founder. The same year he became professor at the State Conservatory in Odense (till '85).  In this capacity - and also as a teacher at the DSI, in cooperation with Tove, he created a dynasty of violinists - professionals as well as amateurs - of the highest standard. 

Since Denmark was one of the first countries in Europe with Suzuki teaching it was natural that Dr. Suzuki was invited to Denmark in '81 for the 2nd European Suzuki Workshop, organised by Tove, Béla and the DSI.

The advanced students of Tove and Béla formed The DSI Chamber Orchestra and with Béla as conductor the orchestra was invited to Japan by Dr. Suzuki in '86 for an extensive tour of the island of Honshu, where they showcased string chamber orchestra-playing.

On countless workshops abroad, Béla inspired the students and shared his musicality and great knowledge about classical as well as modern music. Béla taught and performed all over the world and has been a major influence in the musical and human development of many colleagues in Europe and beyond. 

When the European Suzuki Association was founded in 1980 in London Tove and Béla were among The Founding Fathers - the founding Committee approved by Dr. Suzuki himself.  Tove and Béla were also among the founders of The Danish Suzuki Association in 1990.

Béla and Tove are Honorary Members of The Danish Suzuki Association as well as The European Suzuki Association.

Apart from Béla's impressive musical legacy, he will always hold a very special place in our hearts, as his beautiful tone and beautiful heart, his noble and humble attitude will always be remembered by the people that knew Béla Detreköy.

Thank You, Dear Béla, for setting the most beautiful and inspiring example for all of us.

It is not possible to say Béla without saying Tove, too, because in all aspects of life they have been working so closely together. Therefore our warmest thoughts go to Tove, and all the teachers of the DSI send her our deepest sympathy and condolences.