Zoli Tóth

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Zoli Toth
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Born (1976-11-25) November 25, 1976 (age 45)
Timisoara
NationalityRomanian
CitizenshipRomania
Occupation
  • Musician
  • Entrepreneur
  • Environmental activist
Known forZoli

Zoltan Tóth (born on 25 November 1976 in Timisoara) is a Romanian musician, entrepreneur, environmental activist, creator of radio programs and percussion teacher.

He gained notoriety as a member of System, a group of five professional percussionists who used plastic and metal barrels as their instruments. Together with Luminita Anghel, they won third place in the Eurovision Song Contest 2005, with their song Let Me Try, the best result in Romania’s Eurovision history. [1] [2]

Following up on his extensive career as a percussionist, in recent years he also developed as a composer and took on the challenge of a solo career with his signature one-man show HOME ALONE. [3] [4] Rolling Stone magazine remarked upon his original blend of electronic music and live percussion. [5] Gigwise considers Tóth among the seven rising artists from Romania that you need in your life. In their words, he is “a one man orchestra with vibraphone, analog synths, digital synths, and acoustic drums”. [6]

As an ecologist, he supported multiple NGOs - Greenpeace Romania, WWF Romania, Let’s Do It, Romania!, MaiMultVerde, and Recolamp, among others - raising awareness about their environmentally conscious projects. [7] His radio-show Ecofrecventa celebrates 10 years of existence in 2020. [8]

He is married, has two daughters and lives in Bucharest, Romania. [9]

Early life and the beginnings in music

Zoltan Tóth was born in a family of musicians. His mother, Flora, is a piano teacher and chorus conductor [10], while his father, Alexandru, was a choir singer at the Banatul Philharmonic of Timisoara and a clarinet teacher at the local Music High-school. His brother, Tibor Tóth, is the principal double bass of the Macao Orchestra. [11]

Between 1991-1995, Tóth studied percussion at the Ion Vidu Music High-School in Timisoara. [12] He continued his musical studies at the Gheorghe Dima Music Academy in Cluj-Napoca and graduated summa cum laude in 2000. [13] During his years at the Music Academy, he worked for the Cluj-Napoca Hungarian Opera and collaborated with the Transylvania State Philharmonic Orchestra. [14] He taught percussion and chamber music at the Sigismund Toduta Music High-School in Cluj-Napoca from 2000 until 2002 and, together with his pupils, won twice the first prize at the Romanian Music Olympiads. [15]

In 2005, he received a Master’s degree in the Stylistics of Musical Interpretation from Gheorghe Dima Music Academy.[16] [17]

Music Career

Sistem

After a few changes of style and formula, in 2000, Sistem was born - a band of five professional percussionists playing on metal and plastic barrels and other unconventional musical instruments. Besides Tóth, SISTEM included Robert Magheti, Claudiu Purcarin, Ciprian Rogojan and Florin Romașcu.[18] They released four albums and eleven of their singles became number one hits in Romania.[19] [20] Sistem performed all over Romania as well as abroad and, in 2005, together with Luminita Anghel, won the third place at the Eurovision Song Contest with their song Let Me Try. [21] [1] They collaborated with many Romanian artists, including: Alexandra Ungureanu, Simona Nae, Andrei Japhet, Stela Anita, Lucia Dumitrescu, Natalia Barbu, Miki, Andra, Loredana Groza, Grigore Lese and Deepcentral. [22] [23] [24] [25] [26]

Key concerts with Sistem

  • European Karate Championship – Cluj-Napoca, Romania (2000) [27]
  • International Percussion Festival – Debrecen, Hungary (2000) [27]
  • Vengaboys & Friends Concert – Bucharest, Romania (2001) [27]
  • Hagi Gala – Bucharest, Romania (2001) [27]
  • Chișinău Music Festival – Republic of Moldova (2001) [27]
  • Sighișoara International Festival – Romania (2001) [27]
  • Bucharest Music Festival – Romania (2001, 2002) [27]
  • Mamaia Music Festival – Romania (2002) [27]
  • Callatis Music Festival – Romania (2001, 2002) [27]
  • Golden Stag Festival – Brasov, Romania (2001, 2002, 2004, 2009) [28] [29] [30]
  • Europe Day – Stockholm, Sweden (2004) [27]
  • Eurovision semifinals (1st place) – Kiev, Ucraine (2005) [31]
  • Eurovision finals (3rd place) feat. Luminița Anghel – Kiev, Ucraine (2005) [1]
  • Opening for Depeche Mode – Bucharest, Romania (2006) [32]
  • Concert “Romania Welcome in EU” – Brussels, Belgium (2006) [33]
  • New Year’s Concert – Berlin, Germany (2006) [33]
  • International Exhibition “Water and sustainable development” – Zaragoza, Spain (2008)[33]
  • “Romania, a land to discover” tour – Italy (2008)
  • “Europe on Water” – Istanbul, Turkey (2010)[34]
  • Nikki Beach, White Grand Opening Party – Marbella, Spain (2010)[35]
  • Balkan Beach Party – Liepaja, Latvia (2010)
  • Ascension Festival – Santiago de Compostela, Spain (2011)[36]
  • “Pro Istoria Fest” tour, Romania (2011-2012)[37]

Zoli Toth Project

Zoli Toth Project is the artistic venture Tóth initiated in 2014. With a unique formula of four instrumentalists (two percussionists on marimba and vibraphone, a violinist and a cello player), Tóth produced the show Bach in Showbiz, based on Adrian Enescu’s music; 12 variations on themes by J. S. Bach - a blend of Pop, Rock and Electro, suited for the modern times. Over 30 performances in less than 6 months made this show a success since its inception. [38] [39] The project further evolved in 2015 into The Bach Files, a theatre show that had its preview during the George Enescu Festival, with live music performance by Zoli Toth Project. The show was directed by Alexandru Darie, with scenography signed by Octavian Neculai. [40]

In August 2015, Tóth produced one of the most complex fusion concerts in Romania. With 21 instrumentalists, custom-made video projections and special pyrotechnic effects, it gathered over 5,000 spectators, a first in Romania for this musical genre.[41]

During the recital at the Eurovision Romania finals from 2016, Tóth launched Cocoon, a new project wherein he reinvents himself in the capacity of music composer.[42] [43] He composed the new repertoire in collaboration with George Calin from Deepcentral.[44] The songs carry a fresh and original sound, sometimes with influences from Romanian traditional music, as in Furtuna (the Storm) with vocals by Grigore Lese.[20]

Sensations (2017) was a premium show, combining the industrial sound produced by energetic hitting of anvils, stainless steel tubs and metal barrels, with the warm sound from the accompaniment of the symphony orchestra, and with the modern sound from electronic synthesizers. The stage movement, the special effects with water, fire or CO2, the lighting design, and the video projections were all important ingredients of this show.[45]

Key concerts with Zoli Toth Project

  • Bach in Showbiz Romanian tour (2014) [46]
  • Bach in Showbiz – Chisinau (2015) [47]
  • Bach in Showbiz – Gdansk (2015) [48]
  • George Enescu Festival – Bucharest (2015) [49]
  • The Bach Files – Bulandra Theatre, Bucharest (2015-2016) [50] [51]
  • Bucharest Music Film Festival (2016) [52]
  • Spotlight Festival – Bucharest (2016) [53] [54]
  • Romanian Eurovision Gala – Baia Mare (2016) [42]
  • Visual Art Fest – Bucharest (2017) [55]
  • Dilema Veche Festival – Alba Iulia (2017) [56]
  • Titanum for Romania’s National Day – Bucharest (2017) [57]
  • "Hit Revelion" New Year’s Concert – Bucharest (2018) [58]

Zoli Toth – Home Alone (2018 – present)

For the first time in Romania, Tóth took on the challenge of creating a musical one-man show wherein he interprets his own original compositions combining an electronic soundscape from analogue and digital synths with live percussion on vibraphone and drums as well as unconventional instruments, such as a metal barrel and various kitchen pans. Tóth's extensive experience as a musician transpires in the harmonies inspired from classical music, in the industrial and electro sound mix, in the narrative melodic lines, and in the diverse rhythm of the songs, all contributing to an avant-garde musical performance HOME ALONE - YouTube. [59] Gigwise appreciates how Zoli’s music weaves industrial elements with majestic dream-like sounds. [6] The Home Alone musical show is complemented with Alin Popa’s custom lighting design. [60]

Home Alone concerts

  • The Cultural Season France – Romania, Paris (2018) [61]
  • Musical Timisoara International Festival (2019) [62]
  • Mastering the Music Business showcase – Bucharest (2019) [63]
  • DAKINI Festival – Tuzla, Romania (2019) [64]
  • SINAIA Forever (2019) [65]

The Percussion Ensemble Young Beats – Cantus Mundi

Since 2018, Tóth coordinates the percussion ensembles of the Cantus Mundi program. [13] Under his leadership, the most talented children from the program joined forces as part of the Young Beats select group and gave several concerts, most notably in 2019 at the Golden Stag Festival and the Romanian Athenaeum [28] [66], and in 2020 at the Brasov Philharmonic.[67]

Classical Music

In 1996, Tóth joined the Percussion Ensemble of the Gheorghe Dima Music Academy in Cluj-Napoca, directed at the time by Prof Dr Grigore Pop. Until 2001, he toured with them across Romania as well as abroad and recorded several pieces by Romanian and foreign composers. During this period, he also collaborated with the Transylvania State Philharmonic Orchestra and other Romanian Philharmonics and gave recitals as an instrumental soloist, performing well-known pieces as well as first auditions of contemporary works by composers from Cluj, such as Ede Terenyi and Peter Szego.[15] [68]

In 2010, the composer Adrian Enescu dedicated to him the Domino concerto for percussion solo and orchestra. For this piece, Tóth performed on 3 bongos, 3 tom-toms, big drum and vibraphone as a percussion soloist with the National Radio Orchestra of Romania and Banatul Philharmonic of Timisoara, under the lead of reputable conductors such as maestro Horia Andreescu and Radu Popa. [69] [70] [71] His most important classical appearances were at the George Enescu Festival - in 2011 with Domino [72] [73], in 2013 with the concert Classic and Smart [74], and in 2015 with The Bach Files.[75]

Ecological and Humanitarian Activism

The first "green" cause that caught Tóth’s attention was in 2007 when he became an active supporter of the ban on cyanide in Romanian mining, together with the coalition “Romania without Cyanides” that also included Greenpeace Romania. [76] He then continued to be an advocate for environmental protection as an Ambassador Earth Hour with WWF Romania.[77] [78] He was Eco Ambassador for the MaiMultVerde Association and for ‘Let’s Do It, Romania!’, and collaborated with the Recolamp Association in their recycling campaigns.[79] [80] [81] In 2020, he was a speaker at the TEDx Climate Action Project that took place in Oradea, Romania.[82]

Tóth presented two seasons of the Green Report TV show on TVR1 in 2008-2009.[83] Since 2010, he is the host and producer of the radio show Ecofrecventa on National FM.[8]

He is also implicated in humanitarian activities together with Habitat for Humanity[84] [85] and Hope and Homes for Children.[86] [87]

Entrepreneurship

Tóth is partner in Star Management, one of the first event and artist management companies in Romania.[88] Among their projects was the Battle of Songs (the first independent contest of music composition in Romania), ImpresarOnline.ro (the first website for online artist booking in Romania), Star PR (PR for concerts with foreign artists), On Air Music Awards and Showbiz Academy. [89] [90] [91] [92]

Public Recognition

  • ‘Man of the Year’ award by Men's Health magazine (2017)
  • Ambassador of the Bucharest Marathon (2017) [93]
  • Ambassador of Volunteering in Romania (2011) [94]
  • Ambassador Let’s Do It, Romania! (2010, 2011) [80]
  • Ambassador Earth Hour in Romania (2009, 2010, 2011) [77]
  • “Tine-o toth asa” award for supporting and initiating numerous environmental campaigns in Romania at the Environmental Awards ceremony (June 5/ International Environment Day - 2009) [95]
  • ‘Artist of the Year’ with SISTEM – Radio Romania Actualitati Music Awards (2005) [96]
  • Special Prize with SISTEM at the VIP Gala (2005) [97]
  • 3rd Prize at the Eurovision contest with SISTEM and Luminița Anghel (2005) [1]
  • Golden Record for the album Intră’n Sistem (2002) [98]
  • 2nd Prize at the National Competition of Solo Percussion (Bucharest, 1998) [99]
  • 2nd Prize at the Romanian Music Olympiad (Baia Mare, 1995) [15]
  • 1st Prize at the Romanian Music Olympiad (Constanta, 1994) [100]

References

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