Sixty-five young violinists shortlisted for the live round of the Bartók World Competition and Festival

20. April 2017

Based on the judgement of the three-member jury, representatives of twenty-three countries from four continents will have the chance to take to the stage of the Liszt Academy between 10 and 17 September. Forty-five of the successful candidates are ladies, while twenty competitors are men.

All contestants are between seventeen and thirty years of age. The most-represented nation is Japan, but quite a few Hungarian, American, South-Korean and Chinese violinists have also been shortlisted. Besides the three video recordings, all contestants had to list seven compositions they would be ready to play during the live rounds. For the Final, they can pick from five violin concertos, including Bartók’s two Violin Concertos.

The full list of the qualified applicants is to be found by clicking here.

Vilmos Szabadi, member of the jury for qualifying but also for later, live rounds described the selection procedure as follows: „To our great surprise, many young musicians have applied who had won a number of prestigious international competitions before. This was also reflected by the high quality of the recordings. We were very happy to receive many an exceedingly sophisticated Bartók-interpretations, performed by Hungarian and international musicians. This is due to the fact that today anybody can have access to Bartók-recordings played by the composer himself, who is naturally the absolute top standard-bearer in this regard. It was therefore clear from the performance, if someone had done conscientious research on the composer or not. Fortunately, it wasn’t necessarily only true for the Hungarian candidates. The preliminary jury consisted of the three of us: Géza Kapás, Péter Kováts and me.  We know each other well, and we are all members of the academic staff at the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music. Based on the previously established selection criteria, we now see that there are about 25 contestants who particularly stand out. Nonetheless, until September, there is still plenty of time for things to change considerably.”


Photo: Liszt Academy / István Fazekas


The Program Director of the Liszt Academy, András Csonka, who is in charge of managing the competition project, pointed out that the weight of the competition was obvious to all right from the very beginning of the preparation process, and consequently, applications were submitted in such great numbers as if the international competitions had had a much longer-standing history, as this high number is more typical of international contests that have been organised three or four times before. He added: „We are especially delighted to welcome eight Hungarian competitors among the applicants, most of whom are former or current students of the Liszt Academy. It was also a pleasant surprise that many outstanding performances came from Asian musicians, fifteen of whom are Japanese.” Mr Csonka closed his interview by saying: „I am completely certain that the Liszt Academy will host an absolutely extraordinary violin competition in September.” 

Violinists under 30 could apply until 26 March for the international contest worth over 40 000 EUR in prize money by submitting a video excerpt featuring one of the pre-defined works by Bach, Paganini and Bartók.  The jury of the online round were to make their choice from 106 candidates coming from twenty-six countries.  The Hungarian members of the jury of the live competition will be Vilmos Szabadi, Barnabás Kelemen and Tibor Tallián, while many highly acclaimed international violin virtuosos and music experts have also kindly accepted the invitation of the Liszt Academy to be on the jury in September:  Salvatore Accardo, Qian Zhou, Ivan Zenaty, Krzysztof Wegrzyn, Joel Smirnoff and Takashi Shimizu.



Not only is this music competition to be one of the most prestigious international contests organised bi-annually with a different instrument-focus, it is also supposed to be much more than that: a world-renowned festival-series with a rich programme including composers’ contests concentrating on Bartók’s oeuvre, a musicology symposium-series, and naturally music events that are addressed to the wider public. The competition initiated and devised by the Liszt Academy and funded by the Ministry of Human Resources has the ambition to be regarded as one of the world’s top music contests in the future.