Distinguished Hungarian composer Sandor Balassa's philosophy on his music is that it 'has to be whole, beautiful, interesting and appealing; as natural as if it were this way since the beginning of time, and so that anyone can pick it up with a feeling of joy.' Balassa's uniquely sophisticated textures, timbres and lyrical style can be heard here in pieces for young pianists, remarkable works originally written for cimbalom, an din the Baroque references and sweeping momentum of the Szonatina No. 1. Istvan Kassai graduated as a pianist from the Budapest Academy of Music in 1982 studying in the class of Pal Kadosa. In 1984 he pursued a second diploma at the Conservatoire Europeen de Musique under the closer supervision of professor Yvonne Lefebure. He also undertook several master courses, including one led by Gyorgy Dziffra, who had a great impact on Kassai's artistic development. During his career, Kassai has won several first prizes in international competitions such as the International Piano Competition for Young Artists in 1972 in Czechoslovakia, the Piano Competition organized by Hungarian Radio in 1979, and the Paris International Debussy Piano Competition in 1982.