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Bartók World Competition Hailed a Success

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The unique Bartók World Competition and Festival hosted by the Academy of Music proved a great success once again this year. Held for the third time this September, this musical event has generated enormous interest among audiences over the years.

Stewardship of Bartók’s internationally renowned oeuvre is a major commitment of the Academy of Music, the composer’s alma mater, and this is certainly in evidence at the competition designed to evoke his spirit and heritage.  

Indeed, Bartók was deeply devoted to Hungarian culture throughout his life, while building bridges between nations and cultures through his compositions. Now, as a global powerhouse in music, Hungary naturally avails itself of this opportunity to showcase his work.

The Academy of Music is also committed to introducing the world to the private life of the composer, offering an insight into the mysteries of his relationship with music, thereby making his compositions easier for music lovers to appreciate.

The event has been extremely popular with international audiences since its launch in 2017 and is followed with interest inside Hungary as well. The festival, a highlight of the event, features “Bartók’s Budapest” tours of the city on opening day, while our Liszt Kidz Academy offers unique classes for children. The same afternoon, the competition begins with a ceremonial public drawing on an open-air stage at Liszt Ferenc tér to decide the order in which the competitors are to appear on stage. Then there are free mini-concerts to give you a taste of Bartók’s multifaceted output. Anybody who would like to gain a deeper insight into his pieces and enjoy the event even more can hear brief lectures ahead of each round where Bartók’s compositions are to be performed.

After moving on from the free elimination rounds and semi-finals, where the set repertoire includes Bartok’s short virtuoso pieces, competitors in the finals play relatively long and difficult compositions. The closing event of the world competition is a gala concert where the international jury announces the winners.

We are honored to receive funding from Hungary’s Ministry of Human Capacities. We are likewise pleased that János Áder, President of Hungary, and Lady Valerie Solti, widow of world-famous conductor Sir Georg Solti, continue to act as chief patrons of the competition.

Witnessing the competitors rise to the occasion before a prestigious international jury is a veritable artistic delight for audiences. Indeed, this competition has been announced in a variety of categories: violinists in 2017, pianists in 2019 and string quartets in 2021. In the intervening years, the Academy of Music invites composers to create pieces for musical instruments to feature in the competition in the following year.

We are in for yet another real sensation in 2020: the Fourth Éva Marton International Singing Competition, organized again by the Academy of Music. First mounted in September 2014, the contest joined the community of prestigious competitions this year after being elected a member of the World Federation of International Music Competitions. The rounds that are open to the public will be held in the Academy of Music, while the finals will be broadcast live on television and on the Internet, both in Hungary and throughout the world.

The biennial event was established by Éva Marton in her capacity as professor at the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music. The brainchild of the world-famous dramatic soprano grew from her desire to encourage independence and self-confidence among young singers.

The project found an ideal partner following the reopening of the Liszt Academy in 2013 after its reconstruction and following the founding of its Concert Center department, which has become the headquarters for the competitions. The Marton Competition has become a benchmark for singing students all around the world. It is important for those students to enter the international stage, compete with the world’s best young singers, and have their performances judged by a renowned international jury.

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