Rush of applications for the Bartók World Competition and Festival

28. March 2017

One hundred and six young violinists representing 26 nations have submitted applications for the first international violin competition being staged in September 2017.

The application deadline for the Bartók World Competition and Festival being organized in the violin category for the first time between 10-17 September 2017 closed on 26 March. Violinists under the age of 30 could apply for the international contest with prize money totalling more than €40,000 by uploading three videos demonstrating selected pieces of set works by Bach, Paganini and Bartók. The keen global interest in this violin competition is indicated by the fact that entries were received from a total of 106 young artists from 26 countries including New Zealand, Venezuela, Canada, Vietnam as well as 19 Hungarian violin players, the majority women.

Imre Szabó Stein, Director of Communications at the Liszt Academy and the person overseeing the shaping of the competition, said: “Taking into consideration the repertoire list, which in itself is a huge challenge even for mature violinists and one worthy of the status of Béla Bartók himself, we view the 106 applications received by midnight on Sunday as record-breaking. Even more so because our brand-new Bartók Competition – that has no precedents – is being organized at a time of year when the most distinguished and longest running international competitions regularly compete for the cream of applicants. I take this to mean that international cultural and music life is placing an extraordinary level of confidence in the new competition, and of course the Liszt Academy. The number of applicants skyrocketed in the final two days, perhaps partly due to breaking news arriving Friday that our Bartók clip promoting the competition had won a Silver Hugo prize in the Individual Commercials category at the 53rd Chicago International Film Festival.”



The 45-second film-etude placing the spotlight firmly on Béla Bartók and generating remarkable international viewing figures follows a young musician starting from the Liszt Academy, who listens to Bartók’s original Allegro barbaro recording. Imre Szabó Stein is author and creative producer of the film, which was directed by Dávid Géczy. Cinematographer was Balázs Dobóczy, while students of the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music played the roles of musicians. “We strongly focused on the figure of Bartók, which personalized the film; this is where its strength lies,” stated Imre Szabó Stein.

A three-member qualifier jury of Vilmos Szabadi, Géza Kapás and Péter Kováts, all violinists and professors at the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music, now have to evaluate the videos that have been uploaded. The list of competitors making it through the online qualifying round will be published on the competition website latest by 20 April 2017. From the Hungarian side, Vilmos Szabadi, Barnabás Kelemen and Tibor Tallián (replacing Kristóf Baráti) are taking part in the autumn jury work, in the company of such outstanding foreign violinists and professors who have accepted the invitation from the Liszt Academy as Salvatore Accardo, Qian Zhou, Ivan Zenaty, Krzysztof Wegrzyn, Joel Smirnoff and Takashi Shimizu.

The competition that joins the elite of international music contests not only intends to be an instrumental review announced every second year in a different category. According to plans, it will become a truly global festival supplemented with a composer’s competition, musicology symposium and programmes attracting a wider audience, all of which revolve around the oeuvre of Bartók. The visuals of the competition developed under the direction of the Liszt Academy’s Directorate of Communications aim to position it in the vanguard of world music events such as the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels and the ARD International Music Competition in Munich. The Bartók World Competition and Festival is sponsored by the Ministry of Human Capacities.