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Dr. Zoltan Csikos

Adjunct Faculty
Fain Fine Arts Center


Hungarian cellist Zoltan Csikos was born in 1987. He started playing cello at the age of nine in the City of Novi Sad at the local Elementary Music School. After completing basic music studies, he graduated from the Music High School Isidor Bajic. While completing his high school courses, he was accepted into the preparatory class for gifted young students of the Academy of Music in Novi Sad. Zoltan started his undergraduate studies in 2007 at the Academy of Arts in Novi Sad in the class of the region’s acclaimed Hungarian cello professor, Imre Kalman. As a cello student, he has participated in numerous competitions and master classes and has won various awards in solo playing, as a member of a piano trio, string quartet and chamber orchestra (1st prize in cello at the Festival of Music Schools of Serbia, 2nd prize at the National Competition of Cello in Belgrade in 2003, and prizes as a long-time member of a piano trio and string quartet).

In 2010, he won the Academy of Music’s Annual Concerto Competition and was selected to play the Rococo Variations by P. I. Tchaikovsky with the Academy Orchestra in the Novi Sad Concert Hall.

During his studies he attended master classes with Arto Noras, Louise Hopkins, Alexander Kniazev, Antonio Meneses, Stanislav Apolin, Xenia Jankovic, David Starkweather, Alexander Kobrin, Sergiu Schwartz, and Phoebe Carrai.

Zoltan finished his undergraduate studies in 2012 with the highest grades given for his final cello recital exam. He also holds a Master of Music Degree from the Academy of Music in Novi Sad and an Artist Diploma Certificate from Columbus State University where he was a student and graduate assistant in the studio of the world-renowned cellist, Wendy Warner. In 2021 he obtained a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Cello Performance from the University of North Texas as a student of Nikola Ruzevic. Zoltan is also a winner of of the 2018 University of North Texas Concerto Competition, where he was selected to perform as a soloist with the UNT Concert Orchestra. He enjoys both performing and teaching and served as a cello Teaching Fellow at the University of North Texas from 2016 to 2019 and a chamber music coach at the UNT Summer String Institute. Zoltan’s orchestral experience includes playing in orchestras such as the Plano Symphony, Irving Symphony, San Angelo Symphony, Orchestra of New Spain, Sinfonia da Camera, Camerata Academica, Lagrange Symphony Orchestra, and Columbus Symphony. He was also a member of the UNT Center Piano Trio, the recipient of the Hungarian American Coalition’s Dr. Elemer and Eva Kiss Scholarship, and he was awarded the University of North Texas’ Outstanding Graduate String Student Award in 2019.

Institution Degree Graduation Date
University of North Texas Doctor of Musical Arts in Cello Performance 2021
Columbus State University Schwob School of Music Artist Diploma Certificate 2015
University of Novi Sad Master of Music Performance (Cello) 2013
University of Novi Sad Bachelor of Music in Cello Performance 2012
Employer Position Start Date End Date
Midwestern State University Adjunct Professor 08/23/2021
Music Institute of North Texas Cello Instructor 05/15/2018
University of North Texas Teaching Fellow 08/10/2016 05/10/2019



           Paul Tortelier’s cello method How I Play How I Teach (1975) is an invaluable addition to the limited amount of comprehensive cello methods written during the second half of the 20th century. Although Tortelier’s influence on cello performance is still being felt today, the application of his method has not been sufficiently explored.

           An exceptional performer and devoted pedagogue, Paul Tortelier (1914-1990) can undoubtedly be ranked among the greatest cellists of the 20th century. Influenced by Pablo Casals’ approach to cello playing, How I Play, How I Teach develops his views on intonation, sound production, shifting, and articulation. However, Tortelier also introduces numerous daring inventions of his own into his method. These include playing with a flattened last joint of the finger for a more expressive vibrato, rolling the bow stick while playing for a wider palette of tone colors, new pizzicato and thumb position techniques, new legato fingerings for double stops, and the “pianistic passing of the thumb,” among others.

           Due to their highly unorthodox nature and often condensed, minimalistic explanations, many of Tortelier’s ideas have failed to gain acceptance since their publication and are regularly considered to be types of extended technique, mostly applicable to contemporary music performance. By examining Tortelier’s innovations and by employing them in selected excerpts from the cello literature, this research will prove that even his most radical ideas are applicable within the standard repertoire. If paired with the other methods, the visionary contents of How I Play, How I Teach serve as a useful resource of technical ideas to any aspiring cellist and pedagogue.