A country saying goodbye to Zoltán Kocsis at the Liszt Academy

25. November 2016

The condolers could pay their last respects to the great musician, Zoltán Kocsis until noon on Saturday, 19 November by placing a white flower around his catafalque set up in the entrance hall of the Liszt Academy. From 1pm, state officials and the invited, major representatives of the Hungarian music scene could say goodbye to the highly regarded pianist and conductor, who passed away on 6 November.

At the farewell ceremony, speeches were delivered by Hungary’s President, János Áder, the composer György Kurtág, the President of the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music, Andrea Vigh, the pianist Károly Mocsári, the cellist Miklós Perényi and the musical director of the National Philharmonic Orchestra, Géza Kovács. Besides the President of Hungary and his wife, Anita Herczegh, also the country’s Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán, the former President, Pál Schmitt, the Speaker of the Hungarian Parliament, László Kövér, the Minister of Human Resources, Zoltán Balog and the Secretary of State for Culture, Péter Hoppál as well as many renowned Hungarian musicians attended the ceremony.

For a gallery of photos taken at the ceremony, click here


In his speech, János Áder pointed out that Zoltán Kocsis was one of Hungary’s favourites even when his talent was already acclaimed world-wide. He recalled that at the age of 11, this great musician could play Bach with more genuineness  and purity than many adult pianists, and later he became a „devoted ambassador” of Bartók’s music all over the world but also performed and conducted Richard Strauss, Liszt or Mozart in an utterly unique manner. Mr Áder bade farewell with the following words: "Zoltán Kocsis Zoltán parted from this world at 64, at the exact same age as Béla Bartók. His legacy will last for ever: his eternal music and his eternal presence."  The 90-year-old composer and pianist György Kurtág used a personal tone in his eulogy for his former student and friend. He declared that it was Zoltán Kocsis’s gift to us that Bartók’s works have become part of our public heritage, and by releasing the complete edition of Bartók’s piano recordings, he proved that Bartók was also one of the greatest pianists of his time. György Kurtág stressed that "Music pieces that would make us indifferently shrug our shoulder in the past, became jewels in your hand. " – adding that he had played many a composition in a completely exemplary and unparalleled way.


For a gallery of photos taken at the ceremony, click here


The President of the Liszt Academy, Dr Andrea Vigh argued that Zoltán Kocsis knew everything about music in the broadest possible sense. She recalled that the deceased musician had had an incredible memory, heard intonational insecurities even the densest musical texture and had a most comprehensive intellect. Dr Vigh also stated that Kocsis’s universal character had also showed in his taste in music: his repertoire was determined by his two instruments – the piano and the symphony orchestra – but all important composers or styles in the last four hundred years were part of his musical realm. The pianist Károly Mocsári claimed that while listening to the performance of Zoltán Kocsis that audience often had the chance to experience a moment of grace.

In his accolade, the cellist Miklós Perényi highlighted the duty of this and future generations as well as Zoltán Kocsis’s colleagues to help propagate his musicological ideas and his versatile work. Mr Perényi also expressed his gratitude on behalf of his fellow-musicians for having had the opportunity to work with Zoltán Kocsis experiencing the flow coming from shared music-making. He evoked how he and his colleagues had had the opportunity to be part of Kocsis’s radiant musical imagination, perfect outer and inner hearing, his ability to work extremely hard, his legendary memory and extraordinary sense of proportion.  He added that "These and many other outstanding competences earned him a distinguished position in Hungary’s history of music.”



For a gallery of photos taken at the ceremony, click here


The musical director of the National Philharmonic Orchestra, Géza Kovács described Zoltán Kocsis as „a beacon, guidepost and a source of the musical exhilaration for many." He pointed out that the greatest legacy of this extraordinary artist is his uncompromising and often self-exploitative commitment to perfecting himself. Mr Kovács stressed that "Kocsis’s glowing talent and his authority comparable only to that of the greatest made all worldly power concede.”

At the exclusionary mourning ceremony in the Grand Hall of the Liszt Academy, the National Philharmonic Orchestra and the Hungarian National Choir performed movements from Mozart’s Requiem. This solemn commemoration could be followed on the public screen outside the Liszt Academy as well as live on Duna Channel. Zoltán Kocsis was laid to enteral rest among his closest beloved at Farkasrét Cemetery.