The least important are not forbidden to dream of great things, and even modestly to aim at them, according to the measure of their abilities.

Liszt to Antal Augusz

Andrea Rost and Zoltán Kovács Awarded the Bartók–Pásztory Prize This Year

26 March 2021

In 2021, the board of trustees awarded the Bartók–Pásztory Prize to opera singer Andrea Rost and composer-bassoonist Zoltán Kovács. In line with traditions, the awarding ceremony was held online on Bartók's birthday.

Each year, the Ferenc Liszt University of Music announces the names of the two artists awarded with the Bartók-Pásztory Prize - an instrumental musician and a composer - on March 25, the birthday of Béla Bartók. The prize was established by the widow of the pianist-composer Ditta Pásztory in her will, and every year since 1984 it has been awarded to a Hungarian-speaking performer and composer as a recognition of outstanding artistic activities. The prize is awarded to artists who, through their work, significantly contribute to the development of Hungarian music life and the preservation of Bartók's ethos. Due to the epidemic situation, this year’s awarding ceremony took place behind closed doors with increased health protection measures.

The chair person of the board of trustees is the president of the Academy of Music, currently Dr. Andrea Vigh, and board members consist of the lecturers of the institution: Gyula Fekete, Erkel- and Bartók-Pásztory Prize-winning composer, head of department, vice-president of research and international affairs, Dr. Csaba Kutnyánszky, chorus master, head of department, vice president of education, Csaba Onczay, Kossuth Prize-winning cellist, professor emeritus, Ádám Medveczky, Kossuth Prize-winning conductor, honorary professor, Gusztáv Hőna, Liszt Prize-winning trombonist, professor emeritus, and Kálmán Dráfi, Liszt Prize-winning pianist. university professor.

In his praise of Andrea Rost, Ádám Medveczky recalled the opera singer's entrance exam at the Liszt Academy as follows: “a lovely young lady appeared, she came on stage and opened a book. Of course, we immediately guessed that she would be singing Norina’s aria, because this begins with reading a romantic novel. As she opened her lips and started to sing, we forgot about the book and everything. I was immersed in the colour of her voice, the richness of her expression. ” Medveczky added that Andrea Rost’s career skyrocketed at breakneck pace; she made her debut as Gounod’s Juliet while still in her student years. Despite her busy schedule, she conscientiously attended acting classes and was always well prepared, never simply repeating the lesson but rather performing it. “Professional perfection and poetry are the cornerstones of her success. Bel canto is a native language for her, but in her concerts, she has proven that she is exceptional in all styles of music. She sings songs beautifully and sometimes operettas with mesmerizing kindness,” emphasizes Ádám Medveczky.

Gyula Fekete wrote the laudation about Zoltán Kovács, in which he points out: the composer’s inaugural address was entitled "Recount the Past to Me and I Shall Get to Know the Future from It – an Ancient Legend in 21st Century Program Music,” which the artist delivered in 2015. The chosen quote is also his creed, since his entire oeuvre is imbued with this Confucian thought.

His long line of works ranges from solo pieces to chamber music to concertos, symphonies and oratorical compositions – according to the accolade. His instrument, the bassoon, naturally plays a prominent role in several of his compositions. His most recent works include the Missa Pannonica oratorio, the Three Dances and the Taormina Images symphonic works.

According to Gyula Fekete, the essence of Kovács’s artistic creed is also revealed in an earlier interview, which says: as a bassoonist, his life is all about Mozart, Puccini, and Verdi; he is also connected to these musicians as a composer. “We feel and experience his priceless, classic, unquestionable craftsmanship. The kind of knowledge that our Academy of Music represents traditionally and with conviction; the knowledge that we have all acquired from our former masters here, and that we are trying to pass on - as teachers of the present - to the next generation,” emphasizes the laudation.

 

 

Andrea Rost graduated from the Liszt Academy as a student of Zsolt Bende. As a student, she sang Julia in Gounod's opera Romeo and Juliet, directed by Dénes Gulyás, thanks to a scholarship from the Hungarian State Opera House. She then won first place at one of Europe’s most prestigious competitions, the Mirjam Helin International Singing Competition. Shortly after graduating, she became a soloist at the Vienna State Opera in 1991, and a few years later made her debut at the Scala in Milan at the invitation of Riccardo Muti, a performance that was an international success. During her career spanning three decades, she has taken the stage at the Opéra Bastille in Paris, the Salzburg Festival, the Royal Opera House in London, the opera houses in Los Angeles, Washington and Chicago, the Metropolitan in New York, and the Teatro Real in Madrid. She worked with conductors György Solti, Nicolaus Harnoncourt, and Claudio Abbado, and the list of her stage partners includes Plácido Domingo, José Carreras, Leo Nucci, Renato Bruson, and Roberto Alagna. As a concert and song singer, she has performed in all the major music halls around the world, including the Wigmore Hall in London, the Tonhalle in Zurich, and the Musikverein in Vienna, as well as the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles and the Suntory Hall in Tokyo. She has contributed to several album recordings and recently she has worked on several audiobooks. Her honours include the Kossuth Prize, the Middle Cross of the Hungarian Order of Merit and the Prima Primissima Prize.

 


Kovács Zoltán. Kép forrása: Magyar Művészeti Akadémia

 

Zoltán Kovács was born in 1969 in Budapest. He learned to play the piano from the age of seven, and began playing the bassoon at the age of 13. He studied at the Béla Bartók Conservatory, where his composition teacher was Miklós Kocsár and his bassoon teacher was László Hara Jr. In 1987, he became a student of the Liszt Academy, where his composition professor was Emil Petrovics, and his bassoon professors were Tibor Fülemile and Gábor Janota. In 1990, he received the Award of Excellence from the Hungarian Radio, and the following year he was selected first bassoon at the Orchestra of the Hungarian State Opera House. He received his degree in composition in 1993 - this year also marked the premiere of his Violin Concerto. From 1994 to 1996, he taught instrumentation and score reading at the Liszt Academy. Between 2005 and 2007, he also worked as a teaching conductor of the Pannon Philharmonic Orchestra at the invitation of Zsolt Hamar, with whom he studied together at the composition department. Zoltán Kovács has been a full member of the Music Department of the Hungarian Academy of Arts since 2013. In recognition of his work, he was awarded the Artisjus Prize in 2007, the Benedek Istvánffy Prize in 2008 and the Ferenc Erkel Prize in 2009.