István Kónya obtained his first diploma in History and Music in 1985, while boardening his training with studies in classical guitar with Zoltán Tokos. In 1989 he joined the lute studio of Toyohiko Satoh at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague. There he gained his lute diploma in 1994, being the first Hungarian lutist to achieve such a distinction. In addition to renaissance and baroque lutes, he plays the archlute and the chitarrone. Obtaining his chamber music degree in 1996 at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague, he attended master classes with Nigel North and Steven Stubbs.
He made numerous radio and television records, participated several CDs, and also released two solo albums, “Lute Music from Three Centuries” (2000) and “S.L.Weiss: Lute Suites” (2002), and with the singer Szilvia Bognár a CD about “Hungarian Renaissance Lute Songs” (2008).
In 2000 Mr. Kónya has launched several solo series in Budapest introducing the solo and chamber repertoire of the lute. Since Summer 2002 he had a series, “Lute Concerts in the Buda Castle” (over 50 recitals), performing the unknown pearls of the Hungarian, Italian, English, French, German, Austrian and Middle-European renaissance and baroque music.
He is a member of more chamber music groups, like Ensemble Responsorium in Zagreb (2006-), and founding member of the Ensemble Sospiri (2015-)in Budapest.
He made his recital debuts in the United States with Timothy Bentch (tenor) in 2003 with great success. In 2004 with his hungarian renaissance solo and chamber programs he visited several cities in abroad (Berlin, Stuttgart, Prague, Tallin, Sophia). In 2004 he took part in the Estonian Early Music Festival (Tallin) with two solo recitals, in 2006 with a chamber program at Tarnow Festival (Poland) and at the International Organ Festival in Pula (Croatia). In 2008 he played in Dubrovnik Early Music Festival with the croatian soprano Ingrid Haller.
Besides his recital engagements in Hungary, Mr. Kónya has appeared at many prestigous festivals abroad with leading ensembles, including Capella Leopoldina Graz and Armonico Tributo Austria (Vienna, Graz), Utrecht’s Barock (Amsterdam, Utrecht); Ensemble Gloriant (Bremen, Leiden, Rotterdam), Orchestra Sweelinck (Amsterdam), Koninklijk Conservatorium Orchestra (The Hague), Croatian Radio Chor and Croaitian Baroque Ensemble (Zagreb), Collegium Musicum Fluminense (Rijeka) and with Ensemble Responsorium at many festivals in Croatia, Slovakia, Austria and Slovenia.
He gave solo recitals in most of the major Hungarian cities and in the prominent castles. He has numerous concert performances with Budapest Festival Orchestra, Hungarian Radio Orchestra, Orfeo Orchestra, Concerto Armonico, Capella Savaria, Ábrahám Consort and Budapest Chamber Opera. He worked with conductors and concertmasters like Tamás Vásáry, Iván Fischer, Ádám Fischer, György Vashegyi, Pál Németh, Zsolt Kalló, Péter Szűts, Márta Ábrahám and Miklós Spányi. He played with Budapest Chamber Opera by Monteverdi: Poppea and Vivaldi: Il Tigrane baroque operas at St. James’ Piccadilly in London. Lately he apperaed with Concerto Armonico (cond. Márta Ábrahám/Miklós Spányi) in Vivaldi Concertos at the Academy of Music in Budapest.
He has collaborated with distinguished singers and instrumentalists, including Timothy Bentch/USA, Ludy Vrijdag/Holland (tenor); Mária Zádori, Noémi Kiss, Éva Bodrogi and Ildikó Hajnal/Holland/ (soprano); Katalin Károlyi (mezzosopran); Szilvia Bognár (folksinger), László Paulik, Márta Ábrahám (baroque violin); Miklós Spányi (organ, harpsichord); Lúcia Krommer, Sándor Szászvárosi (viol) and Gábor Prehoffer (recorder).
Since 1993 he gave many music courses in Hungary. Lute teacher and artistic director of the Early Music Summer Academy in Szombathely (1996-98), of the Savaria Early Music Cource (2005-13), of the International Lute & Guitar Festival in Győr/Hungary (2006-08). Since 2010 he is the lute- and guitar teacher of the Early Music Summer University in Miercurea-Ciuc (Romania).
In 2014 he published 3 books: History of the lute in Europe; Method and Anthology for Renaissance Lute (in Hungarian).
In 2015 the Hungarian TV Chanel Duna (Danube) made a portrait film about him.