Katalin Koltai was born in Budapest, where she began to play classical guitar at the age of 7. She pursued her studies at the Béla Bartók Conservatory and in the classes of József Eötvös at the Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest. She gained her Masters degree in 2007 summa cum laude as a classical guitar soloist. Katalin has also studied with Antigoni Goni at the Royal Conservatory of Bruxelles, and with Carlo Marchione at the Conservatorium Maastricht, where she obtained a post-graduate degree in 2009.
Katalin regularly performs in recitals throughout Europe; both as a soloist and a chamber musician. She has appeared at such prestigious festivals and venues as the Thy Chamber Music Festival in Denmark, the Festival for the Interpretation of Spanish Song in Granada in Spain, the Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival in Finland, the Contemporary Music Festival of Young Composers in Budapest, Hungary, the Greenwich International Early Music Festival in London UK, the Making New Waves Festival in Hungary and the Fiesta de la Guitarra in Estonia, to name but a few. At the Festival for the Interpretation of Spanish Song in Granada she was invited not only as a soloist, but also as an accompanist in the masterclass of Teresa Berganza. As a soloist she performed with The Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra, and Hungarian Radio Symphony Orchestra.
Katalin is very active performer of contemporary music, commissioning new works and giving numerous first performances; often of music dedicated to her. She has also created a wide range of her own transcriptions from various musical eras and, alongside the traditional, six-stringed classical guitar, also plays various other plucked instruments, such as the 8-stringed guitar or the theorbo lute.
As a keen chamber musician, Katalin enjoys playing with recognized artists internationally in differing combinations of instruments and has founded two ensembles: the Dialogue Duo in 2002 and the Barefoot Musicians in 2006, with whom she has since performed frequently. The Dialogue Duo, with flautist Noemi Győri, focuses on 17th-18th Century chamber music for flute and guitar, including their own arrangements and rarity pieces. Barefoot Musicians is an ensemble directed by Katalin, which shares a passion for new music and the creation of interdisciplinary performances.
Katalin is recognized not only as a concert guitarist, but also in the Hungarian theatre. Since 2008 she has been the solo guitarist in the Orchestra of the Hungarian State Opera. She has co-operated in the creation and presentation of a number of interdisciplinary performances and regularly performs new music and improvisations with actors and dancers. Her shows have been performed on the stages of leading Hungarian theatres such as Vígszínház, Katona József Színház, POSZT, etc.
Katalin has made a wide range of recordings. Her first CD was released in 2007 featuring a selection of solo pieces from Renaissance to contemporary music. In 2008 she made a World Premier recording for North/South Recordings and Naxos, of Harold Schiffmann’s guitar concerto, with the Győr Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Antal Mátyás. In 2011 she recorded an album with the Dialogue Duo, released by HUNGAROTON. In 2012 her fourth disc was released with Barefoot Musicians (Éva Bodrogi and Zsolt Bartek) on the Gryllus label. She has made further recordings for the Hungarian Bartók Radio; including performances of Hungarian contemporary music.
Between 2008 and 2009 Katalin was a fellow of the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science’s Huygens Scholarship Programme for Excellent Students. In 2010 she received the prestigious Junior Prima Prize (Hungary) for her artistic and pedagogical work.