Indian musicians never make groups, never name themselves with fantasy-names, they just do speak a common musical language, and they play and work together, time to time playing with a particular partner for longer periods.
Indian classical music belongs to the chamber-music category, where only one soloist is prominent in most cases. The reason why the three Hungarian musicians took the name "CALCUTTA TRIO" is very simple. They have thoroughly learnt Indian classical music, they have been playing together for almost 30 years, and even though they follow their Indian masters faithfully, they had to choose a particular name, just for the sake of identification in our continent. CALCUTTA TRIO has been existing for more than twenty eight years now, and was established with the aim to make Indian classical music known and popular, played authentically by non Indians.
Since 1979 the Trio has widely been performing in India, in several Indian cities such as Delhi, Calcutta, Bombay, Madras, Gwalior, as well as in Bangla Desh, Thailand, Nepal, Pakistan, UAE and Singapore. The Trio has also been performing in various western countries such as Germany, France, Switzerland, Romania, Italy, the Nederlands, Croatia, England and Scottland, etc. The efforts of the trio led to establishing the first RIMPA (Ravi Shankar Institute for Music and Performing Arts) branch in Budapest, where they teach classical Indian music and work on propagating classical Indian art, as well as produce Indian performances in the region. Since 1979 the weekly Indian Music Club has been existent in Budapest, the only and very first of its type in the continent, where programs, lectures and performances are granted by the Trio.
ANDRAS KOZMA was born in 1952. At the age of 20 he was carefully thought about to be one of the best guitar players in Hungary. He played classical guitar as well as jazz. As a guitarist he has received several awards at different jazz festivals all over Europe and has composed music for more than a dozen documentaries and feature films. He started studying Indian classical music in 1973 and took up the interest of playing the Sitar. Having dedicated himself to Indian classical music he gave up playing western music of any kind in order to pay the possible deepest attention to his studies on sitar. He took his first instruction from Ram Chandra Mistry in Paris and later received lessons from the well known flute master Malhar Kulkarni. He spent long years in India and became a disciple of Prof. DEBU CHAUDHURY from whom for some valuable years he had the opportunity to study the pure Seniya gharana style of Sitar and Surbahar.
In 1981 he was accepted as a student by the world famous sitar virtuoso PANDIT RAVI SHANKAR. As a disciple of Ravi Shankar his style and musical approach have undergone a very significant change. After long years of intensive training under the well known sitar virtuoso, Andras became one of the best sitar players in the gharana, and is well recognized as Ravi Shankar's only European student. Mr. Kozma is an M.A.Mus. and in 1987 he received his Ph.D. He wrote his thesis on the significant changes in classical instrumental music in India in the 20th century.
He is among the very few the non-Indian born musicians who very often perform in India, as well as other countries all over the globe. Mr.Kozma is an active member of several Indian music related societies and also has leading role in UNESCO’s Asian music council. Since 1989 Mr.Kozma is the director of RIMPA (Ravi Shankar Institute for Music and Performing Arts) in Budapest, where the Central European Branch was inaugurated by Pt. Ravi Shankar in 1990. He is a part time music producer of Hungarian Radio and published several papers on Indian music.
Andras Kozma is not the only European disciple of Pandit Ravi Shankar, but is well known for rigorously following the style of his Guru, as well as the tradition of the well known Seniya-Maihar gharana.
He has been regularly touring with his Calcutta Trio and give lectures and lecture-demonstrations on Indian classical music.
His recent book, titled "Nada Brahma" is dealing with Indian music, his experiences in India while studying music, and of course his unique relationship with his guru.
PETER SZALAI started playing the Tabla at the age of 16. Born in Budapest 1962, has chosen Indian music professionally. In the beginning he studied with Anthony Dass and Ustad Munnu Khan, leading exponents of Delhi gharana of tabla, and later became a student of the world famous tabla maestro USTAD ALLA RAKHA. These days he is well known worldwide as an artist of unique talent and a musician who strictly follows the Punjab gharana of tabla. He has habitually played visited India and also received training from his Guru's sons, namely Zakir Hussain, Fazal Qureshi and Toufiq Qureshi, too. Besides playing with Calcutta Trio, in the 80's Mr.Szalai performed along with eminent Indian musicians all over Europe, and aside from playing classical music he also participated in jazz formations and mixed-music experiments. He has already tutored a few very talented students of Tabla. Peter Szalai is undoubtedly one of the tabla players outside India and he is well known of following not only Punjab gharana's style but perhaps he is the only disciple of U.Alla Rakha, including Indian students, who plays his Guru's original style. Peter is the dy.director of RIMPA.
ANDRAS MOLNAR has also been a pupil of Ustad Munnu Khan from whom he learnt to play the tabla. Apart from this he studied classical vocal music during his stay in India. In the Trio he regularly plays the tanpura. In India Mr. Molnar has studied at Bharatiya Kala Kendra - New Delhi. Besides playing the tanpura for the Trio he has been managing the Trio for well over fifteen years. Mr.Molnar is the only member of the Trio having a descent job besides music, he is a high ranking officer of the Hungarian Ministry of Finance.
The Trio is a rare formation of musicians who play together for more than 30 years, and in relation with the classical music of India they are considered to be among the leading exponents.