The Budapest Business Journal speaks with Csaba Káel about cultural tourism, the mission of Müpa Budapest, of which he is CEO, and the upcoming CAFe Budapest Contemporary Arts Festival.
BBJ: CAFe Budapest runs from October 5-21. What role does Müpa Budapest play?
Csaba Káel: In the course of the past almost three decades, CAFe Budapest Contemporary Arts Festival – formerly the Budapest Autumn Festival – has become one of the most important event series dedicated to the contemporary arts in Central Europe. It is an effervescent, extraordinary and colorful festival that cooperates with Budapest’s leading cultural institutions and, for the last five years, Müpa Budapest has been responsible for the festival as its main organizer, in strong cooperation with Budapest Festival and Tourism Center and the Hungarian Tourism Agency.
BBJ: What makes CAFe Budapest standout?
CK: The most exciting and inspiring creators of the Hungarian and international cultural scene present their latest works here. Ólafur Arnalds, Sinfonietta Rīga, The King’s Singers, Dean Brown, Chad Lawson, the Hungarian National Ballet, Marialy Pacheco, Recirquel Company Budapest, Masego and the Belgian Peeping Tom: the 27th CAFe Budapest Contemporary Arts Festival presents real treats in every genre from fine arts to contemporary dance and ballet, from theater to classical music and jazz. We think it important to emphasize how progressive, vibrant and dynamic the contemporary art scene is; it is the art of our present, the essence of our age, a powerful reflection on who we are now. The mission of the festival is to provide a space for all these exciting ideas, and the city of Budapest is just the perfect place for that. With its colorful program, the festival makes the Hungarian capital an attractive destination for cultural tourism, and creates a unique and absolutely positive vibe around the Hungarian capital.
BBJ: Müpa Budapest has become one of Hungary’s best known cultural brands and is one of its most modern cultural institutions. Which acts are you particularly looking forward to seeing on stage this season?
CK: It’s not easy to answer this question, as I am really proud of the whole season, but to mention a few highlights: we are pleased to welcome the iconic conductors Sir John Elliot Gardiner and Sir Simon Rattle this year; the stunning virtuoso pianist, Denis Matsuev, is going to perform at Müpa, along with the National Philharmonic Orchestra, as will the dazzling violinist Midori, who will arrive with the Munich Chamber Orchestra. We are thrilled to present young artists in collaboration with members of European Concert Hall Organization every year, in the framework of the “Rising Stars” series. And Wagner’s fantastic opera-tetralogy “Der Ring des Nibelungen” is also going to return in 2019.
BBJ: You have been the CEO of MÜPA Budapest since 2011; what attracted you to the role?
CK: In the Hungarian language, közönség (audience) and közösség (community) is almost the same word, but that one letter difference does make a huge difference. I am so happy to say that in Müpa, we have an amazing and loyal audience that creates a real community. They belong to us, they inspire us and, thanks to them, Müpa Budapest has become an important place to meet, where the greatest artists and spectators can share some important moments evening by evening. We have such an amazing cultural heritage here in Hungary, and extremely talented artists to show to the world; I truly believe that we have to make these treasures visible and accessible, and we have to create an international perspective for these artists. As the CEO of Müpa, this is my mission.
Müpa Budapest CEO Csaba Káel, is also chairman of the executive board of CAFe Budapest Contemporary Arts Festival. He was recently awarded the French National Order of the Legion of Honor lately and has been appointed as the Culture and Tourism Ambassador of Budapest for 2018.