Dávid Kéringer


Photos by Matt Dine


First Place, 2020 Danubia Talents Vienna Competition, Austria; First Place, 2014 National Saxophone Competition in Memoriam Köles István, Hungary; First Place, 2013 National Clarinet Competition, Hungary


Webern Chamber Orchestra, Austria, 2018–23; Mörbisch Festival, Austria, 2021; Grafenegg Academy, Austria, 2018

What is your earliest memory of classical music?

My first recorder lessons at the local music school in Budapest. My first actual experience listening to a clarinetist was at a ragtime band’s concert.

How did you hear about TŌN? What inspired you to apply?

The first time I met people from TŌN was in 2018. They came to Austria to play at the Grafenegg festival in a joint orchestra with a group of local musicians. Back then I was part of the Austrian half of the ensemble. I made good friends in the orchestra and their presence was inspiring. Years later I came to Bard with a Fulbright Scholarship and during that academic year I decided to apply to TŌN.

What is the most memorable performance you ever had?

I have plenty, it’s difficult to choose only one. I’ve played on TV a couple of times. I was also on tour as a soloist a couple of times in Italy, France, and Japan.

What is your proudest achievement as a musician?

I enjoy traveling and using music as a common language wherever I’m going.

Tell us about a time you almost gave up but didn’t.

I had problems in the past with my arms for almost a year. There were months when I couldn’t play. I visited several professionals until I found my younger brother’s high school P.E. teacher, who helped me create an exercise routine. I’m really thankful for her.

Can you share any memorable onstage mishaps?

My reed stopped functioning during my bachelor’s degree recital. In Hungary, degree recitals are usually at large venues and are considered to be on the same level as normal concerts; they aren’t like an exam.

After a few measures, I stopped playing the Saint-Saëns Clarinet Sonata, excused myself, went backstage, fixed my setup, came back on stage, and started over. My professors weren’t impressed, obviously; family and friends were also in shock. But for me, in that moment, that was the most natural thing to do.

Do you have a favorite non-classical musician or band?

I like electronic music. Infected Mushroom is one of my favorites.

If you weren’t a musician, what would you be doing?

Probably something involving computers and technology.

What is a surprising part of playing your instrument that you think most people don’t know?

Being a clarinetist means that we have more than one instrument on stage most of the time.

What advice would you give your younger self or anyone starting out?

Diversify: do or study something else in addition to music. It helped me to have a comfortable life during the pandemic, for example. That allowed me to reinvest in my musical career, and since then I appreciate being a musician even more.

What do you wish you knew starting out that you know now?

Good networking is almost as important as playing an instrument well. Staying physically fit and taking care of the hands and arms is very important.