Piano professor at the Music Academy


On 13 May 1907, a festive concert in memory of “glorified” masters of the Music Academy, Liszt, Erkel, Volkmann. Béla Bartók performs Volkmann’s Concerto in C major, the orchestra is conducted by István Kerner. This is the first piano work to be publically played in the concert hall. According to Bartók, “It is a hard work but it is worth it for being unquestionably the ‘first’.”

(Béla Bartók, jr., Chronicle Of My Father’s Life, 1981)

Bartók did not like teaching. […] He never told this to his students, however [...] His teaching system was one not of explanation, but of rendition. When the student brought a newly-learnt piece to the lesson for the first time, he sat at the writing desk and heard itŸthrough without interruption. […] At the second Bösendorfer, then, he played through the same piece himself […] He left it to the student to work out what conclusions could be drawn from the alternative renditions. […] He was especially fastidious about rhythm. Rhythm and accentuation — in these two the true character of Bartók’s pianoplaying is found. On account of a single accent he was not averse to making the student get up from the piano fifteen or twenty times.

(Júlia Székely, Professor Bartók,trans. in Malcolm Gillies, ed., Bartók remembered, 1990)