Obituary: Francis Akos, longtime Chicago Symphony violinist, 93

Posted on: February 1, 2016

“Francis Akos was one of several prominent, Hungarian-born musicians of Jewish ancestry who, along with his colleagues, cellist Janos Starker and violinist Victor Aitay, managed to survive the Holocaust and … immigrate to the American Midwest, where each enjoyed long and distinguished performing careers,” writes John von Rhein in Friday’s (1/29) Chicago Tribune. “A member of the violin section of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for 48 years until his retirement in 2003, Akos died Thursday in Minneapolis…. Akos joined the CSO at music director Fritz Reiner’s invitation as assistant principal second violin in 1955, becoming section principal the following year. He was appointed assistant concertmaster in 1959 and remained in that chair until 1997 when Daniel Barenboim named him assistant concertmaster emeritus…. Akos, Aitay, Starker and [pianist Gyorgy] Sebok all studied at the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest, where Bela Bartok, Zoltan Kodaly and Leo Weiner were their professors…. Following the war, Akos served as concertmaster of the Budapest Symphony Orchestra and later of the Hungarian Royal Opera and Philharmonic orchestras…. He immigrated to the U.S. in 1954, performing with the Minneapolis Symphony (now Minnesota Orchestra) under Antal Dorati, before Reiner brought him to Chicago…. Plans for a public memorial will be announced at a later date.”

Posted February 1, 2016