Bartók World Competition

Japanese quartet wins this year’s Bartók World Competition

The Quartet Integra was awarded the first prize totalling 12,000 euros at Sunday’s awards ceremony and gala evening of the 2021 Bartók World Competition for string quartets.

The international jury of the competition, organized by the Liszt Academy – and which has attained global recognition – awarded the Vienna-based Chaos String Quartet the second prize and the 8,000 euro endowment, while the Sonoro Quartet of Belgium won the third prize and the 4,000 euro award.

In addition to them, the Korossy Quartet consisting of Hungarian students of the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music and the Unison Quartet, founded by former and current students of The Juilliard School in New York, received a letter of Honorary Mention for their performance during the finals.

The jury also handed out several special prizes. Bartók Radio awarded a concert invitation and a radio recording to the Chaos Quartet and the Korossy Quartet each. The Sonoro and the Korossy string quartets won an opportunity to perform at the Auer Festival; the Bartók Memorial House invited the Sonoro Quartet to a performance; the concert invitation of the Liszt Academy in the 2022-2023 season went to the Korossy Quartet; the Chaos Quartet and the Korossy Quartet will have the opportunity to perform at the Festival Academy Budapest next summer. The Chaos Quartet won the Fidelio media package while the Korossy Quartet won the Papageno media package.

In the final, which took place on Saturday in the Solti Hall of the Liszt Academy, each quartet was required to perform Schubert's string quartet in C minor ("Quartettsatz") and a full Bartók string quartet. Afterwards, the prestigious international jury decided on the awards, which were announced and handed over at Sunday’s evening gala concert, featuring performances by the finalists in the Solti Hall.


Photo: Liszt Academy/László Mudra


At the awards ceremony, Dr. Andrea Vigh, rector of the Liszt Academy, noted that this past week was rich in amazing performances and experiences. "The competitors did a great job, the jury worked tirelessly, and I am extremely grateful to all of them that this year's Bartók World Competition, announced in the string quartet category, took place at such an extraordinary level," she added. In her view, young musicians have set an example to the whole world that a real community can be created among competitors: they have built close to friendly relations with each other, which after all is the basis on which chamber music is built.

Dr. Andrea Vigh pointed out that today was a significant day in the history of the Bartók World Competition and Festival, which was founded four years ago; the end of the competition in the string quartet category marks the end of first big cycle of the competition. She noted that the competition series, which started in 2017, takes place in six-year cycles. In odd years, instrumentalists match their strength: first came the violinists, followed in 2019 by pianists and in 2021 by string quartets. In even-numbered years, it’s the turn of composers to compete against one another, with works corresponding to the next year's instrumental competition.

Next year, it will be the turn of composers to compete again with new works for violin and 2023 will mark the beginning of a new cycle with the second competition for violinists, she stressed.

"I am extremely pleased and proud that the Bartók World Competition and Festival has become not only a defining event in Hungarian music life over the years, but the international music community as well as the general public also regard it as one of the most prestigious music competitions" highlighted Dr. Andrea Vigh. Finally, quoting Goethe’s words that the string quartet is a dialogue of four sensible people, she remarked that the quartet, whether we play in it or listen to it, teaches us that dialogue, harmonious cooperation is the basis of the human existence; to understand and experience this is worth more than any competition victory.

Jury President Mikhail Kopelman drew attention to the fact that all participating 11 string quartets showed a high level of preparation and knowledge. He encouraged those who did not receive an award not to give up, continue working, study, as they are at the beginning of a long journey. The jury made their decisions almost unanimously, in perfect harmony, he added.


 Photo: Liszt Academy/László Mudra


The Quartet Integra, which won first place, was formed in 2015 and its members are currently studying as Suntory Hall Chamber Music Fellows under Tsutsumi Tsuyoshi, Neriki Shigeo, Ikeda Kikuei, Mori Hakuro, Isomura Kazuhide, Harada Koichiro and Hanada Wakako.


 Photo: Liszt Academy/László Mudra


The Vienna-based Chaos String Quartet, winner of the second place, has won numerous international awards. The ensemble is currently mentored by Johannes Meissl (Artis Quartet) and received additional musical training from artists such as Heime Müller (Artemis Quartet), Hariolf Schlichtig (Cherubini Quartet), Rainer Schmidt (Hagen Quartet), Rita Wagner, András Keller and Péter Nagy.


 Photo: Liszt Academy/László Mudra


Belgium’s Sonoro Quartet, which came in third, was founded in 2019 and its members are currently studying at the Netherlands String Quartet Academy in Amsterdam (NSKA), where they are being coached by renowned professors such as the members of the Danel Quartet, Eberhard Feltz and the Hagen Quartet. They are also studying at the Orpheus Institute in Ghent and under Heime Müller (Artemis Quartet). 


 Photo: Liszt Academy/László Mudra


Hungary’s Korossy String Quartet, founded by students of the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music, won the Weiner Leó National Chamber Music Competition in 2019 and in recent years, they have attended the master classes of the European Chamber Music Academy (ECMA). Numerous prominent and prestigious artists – Katalin Kokas, Barnabás Kelemen, Johannes Meissl, Patrick Jüdt, Márta Gulyás and György Pauk – help them in their work.


Photo: Liszt Academy/László Mudra


The New York-based Unison Quartet took part in the Perlman Music Program by Itzhak Perlman in June 2021. The following month, they performed at the Aspen Music Festival Center for Advanced Quartet Studies. In recent years, they held concerts at the Juilliard String Quartet Seminar and the Juilliard Chamber Music Recital in addition to performing at the Kneisel Hall Benefit Concert. The ensemble’s past and current coaches include world-renowned artists.

The 2021 Bartók World Competition, presided over by a prestigious international jury, began on Monday with the participation of 11 string quartets, whose young, talented members hail from all over the world, from Asia to North America to several countries in Europe.

The jury consisted of renowned members of the international chamber music scene: Russian-American violinist Mikhail Kopelman; Norwegian cellist Bjørg Lewis, founding member of the Vertago Quartet; Austrian violinist Johannes Meissl, professor of chamber music and deputy rector at the Vienna University of Music and member of the Artis Quartet; violinist Ami Oike, professor at the Tokyo University of the Arts (GEIDAI), in addition to Hungarian members: Kossuth Prize-winning violinists Barnabás Kelemen, András Keller and János Rolla, as well as Széchenyi Prize-winning music historian Tibor Tallián.