When my education at the Gymnasium (high school) was concluded the question arose at which musical academy I should continue my studies. In Pozsony (Pressburg), at that time, the Vienna Conservatorium was considered the sole bastion of serious musical education, but I took Dohnányi’s advice and came to Budapest where Ibecame a pupil of István Thomán (in piano) and of the Brahmsian Hans Koessler (in composition) at the Royal Music Academy between 1899 and 1903. I started studying with great enthusiasm Wagner’s works, till then unknown to me — The Ring, Tristan, The Master Singers — and Liszt’s orchestral compositions. […] I did no composing, however, and at the Academy of Music was considered only a first-class pianist.
(Autobiography by Bartók, 1923)