Bartók World Competition


25 July 2017

The Bartók World Competition and Festival – enjoying international limelight – will be hosted by the Liszt Academy from 9 until 17 September for the very first time. On the opening day of the contest, special programmes and free concerts will welcome the members of all age groups.

For children, the already well-known and popular Liszt Kidz Academy will offer a wide range of unconventional activities, all focusing on Bartók’s music. Among the venues of the 110-year-old music palace, the attendees will take a glimpse into Bartók’s classroom and the Artists’ Room of the Grand Hall. The young visitors will have the opportunity to collect stamps during the activities, which will be rewarded at the end of the day. The free of charge event on 9 September, at 11am is open to all Liszt Kidz and their parents. 

Photo: Liszt Academy / Barnabás Szabó

Another exceptional event held on the opening day is Bartók’s Budapest - Sightseeing Tour. The musicologist László Stachó will be guiding the participants along the most important sites in the composer’s Budapest life while recounting curiosities and stories about his career path. The 2.5-hour-long tour will take off at 1pm with the presentation of the Bartók Béla Memorial House in Csalán Street, where the visitors will get an impression of the ingenious composer’s everyday life, character and extraordinary biography by seeing his much-beloved home. From there, the tour-bus will take the participants to the Bartók Room of the Liszt Academy, where they will hear further titbits about Bartók, the music professor and the performing artist right until his legendary farewell concert at the Liszt Academy in 1940. Due to the massive interest of the audience, another date was announced, starting at 10am at Liszt Ferenc Square.

The public lot drawing starting on the open-air stage on Liszt Ferenc Square at 4pm is the most exciting event of the day and not only for the violinists themselves. Fate will then decide who will take to the stage of the Solti Hall at what time during the Preliminary Round. Following the lot drawing, from 4.30pm, the audience will be welcome to listen to three free of charge concerts all concentrating on Bartók’s music: first, the students of the Special School for Exceptional Young Talents of the Liszt Academy will go on the stage, then the Chamber Music Department of the Liszt Academy will be performing Bartók’s Rhapsodies No. 1 and 2, the Romanian Folk Dances and the Contrasts. The miraculous atmosphere of the afternoon will then be taken care of by the Folk Music Department, whose members will play both Bartók’s folk song arrangements and their original versions.

Photo: Liszt Academy / Laszlo Mudra

After the opening day, from 10 to 12 September, the Preliminaries and Semi-finals can be enjoyed free of charge. Prior to the individual rounds, music historians will deliver an introduction of Bartók’s violin compositions, and the audience will also be educated regarding the details that are especially worth paying attention to. The greatest excitement awaits those who will keep track of the Final (accompanied by a chamber orchestra) and the Grand Final (accompanied by a symphony orchestra). Tickets for these events – to be held on 14 and 16 September – can already be purchased online.

At the Final, the six shortlisted candidates will be playing Mozart’s violin concertos with the kind participation of the Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra conducted by Gergely Ménesi. In the Grand Final, only three contestants will be competing, performing selected works by Beethoven, Brahms and Tchaikovsky besides Bartók’s two violin concertos. The symphony orchestra accompanying the finalists as well as the performers of the Gala concert on 17 September is going to be the Hungarian Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by János Kovács.