Pal Banda was born into a musical family in Budapest. At the Franz Liszt Academy of Music he studied with his father, Ede Banda, as well as Gyorgy Kurtag and Ferenc Rados. A British Council Scholarship took him to Prussia Cove where he had further studies with Ralph Kirshbaum.
In 1982 Pal received a commendation in the Moscow International Tchaikovsky Competition and the following year won 1st prize in the Popper Competition at the Franz Liszt Academy, Budapest.
In 1983 Pal was invited by Sandor Vegh to become Principal Cello in the Camerata Academica, Salzburg. In 1984 he became a member of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe.
As a soloist he has performed in Hungary (for Radio and TV) as well as in France, Holland, Belgium, Denmark, Austria, UK and Singapore. He has been a member of several ensembles including the Fitzwilliam Quartet and the Katin Piano Trio. He was cellist of the Allegri String Quartet from 1998 – 2008. In 2012 he became the cellist of the English Piano Trio.
Pal has been teaching at the Purcell School for over 20 years and has given master classes in the USA, Greece, Singapore, France, Portugal, Norway, Denmark, Hungary and England. He has been an external examiner at Cambridge University since 2008 and adjudicates regularly at Trinity Laban Conservatoire, the Royal College of Music and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
Recent chamber concerts include violin-cello duo recitals with Zsuzsa Berenyi at the Paxos Festival, at Limerick University and the National Gallery in Budapest. He has also appeared with the Kodaly and Maggini Quartets.
Pal has been invited by the Takacs Quartet to perform Brahms’ Sextet in two concerts at the Wigmore Hall in the 2017/18 season. For 2016/ 17, together with his daughter Sophie, he has created a series of charity concerts in which he plays Bach Solo Suites in British churches which are in need of help with their restoration funds. Pal plays on a cello that was once owned by the Esterhazy family.
‘… in the texturally detailed, inexorably unfolding slow variations…with some exceptionally lovely playing from cellist Pal Banda’
‘Pal Banda…sumptuously long-legged of tone.’
Independent on Sunday