Technique should create itself from spirit not from mechanics.

Franz Liszt to Lina Raman

Barnabás Kelemen and Péter Zombola Awarded This Year’s Bartók-Pásztory Prize

26 March 2020

The Award Committee granted the 2020 Bartók-Pásztory Prize to violinist Barnabás Kelemen, professor at the Liszt Academy, and composer Péter Zombola. The university will hold the award ceremony on September 3.

Each year, the Liszt Academy announces the names of the two artists - an instrumental musician and a composer – awarded with the Bartók–Pásztory Prize on March 25, the birthday of Béla Bartók. The prize was founded by Ditta Pásztory, the widow of the pianist-composer in her last will and testament, and it has been granted every year to a Hungarian-speaking artist and composer since 1984.

The Award Committee is chaired by the President of the Liszt Academy, currently Dr. Andrea Vigh, and consists of faculty members: Gyula Fekete, Erkel and Bartók-Pásztory Prize-winning composer, head of department, international and academic vice president, Dr. Csaba Kutnyánszky, chorus master, head of department, vice president in charge of education, Csaba Onczay, Kossuth Prize-winning cellist, professor emeritus, Ádám Medveczky, Kossuth Prize-winning conductor and titular university professor, Gusztáv Hőna, Liszt Prize-winning trombone artist and professor emeritus, as well as Kálmán Dráfi, Liszt Prize-winning pianist and head of department.

The award ceremony will take place on September 3 in the X. Hall of the Liszt Academy headquarters on Liszt Ferenc square.

In his laudatory speech of Barnabás Kelemen, Ádám Medveczky highlighted: “I first saw him in the college student orchestra, sitting at the first desk of the second violin. We were accompanying Mozart arias and I noticed how he was completely in synch with the winds, the soloist. The very embodiment of an ideal chamber musician. He staged splendid concerts with his excellent string quartet. He is uncompromisingly fastidious, both as a professor and a fellow musician. However, his fastidiousness is not overbearing: he conveys his will with a natural joviality. Virtuosity, romance, self-confidence and humility.”

Gyula Fekete wrote the laudation for Péter Zombola, in which he praised the laureate as a remarkable figure of the middle generation of Hungarian composers. He underlined: “Zombola combines the inscrutable creative freedom and rigorous structure of his teachers, György Orbán and Zoltán Jeney; the central motif of his works in the search for the transcendent and the aspiration to give it a voice with notes. As a professor, he engages his students emotionally and strives to bridge the gap between the arts.”


Barnabás Kelemen.


Barnabás Kelemen was born in 1978 and began his violin studies at the age of 6 with Valéria Baranyai. At the age of 11 he was admitted to the preparatory department of the Liszt Academy to Eszter Perényi’s class, from where he graduated in 2001. He regularly attended the master courses of renowned artists and has been teaching at the Liszt Academy since 2005 in addition to holding a professorship at the Music and Dance College in Cologne. He performs with famous orchestras at many of the world's leading festivals and concert halls, ranging from the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and Wigmore Hall in London to Carnegie Hall in New York. He has worked with artists such as Lorin Maazel, Sir Neville Marriner, Zoltán Kocsis, Tamás Vásáry, Miklós Perényi and Steven Isserlis. Kelemen has released 17 solo records, of which the recording of three Brahms sonatas (with Tamás Vásáry) won the Diapason D'or Award in October 2003 and the Hungaroton record label asked him to play all of Bartók's works for violin at the recording of the New Bartók Series. He has won numerous awards, including the 1st prize at the Mozart Competition in Salzburg, the 3rd prize at the Queen Elizabeth Violin Competition in Brussels, the shared first prize at the 4th Beijing International Music Competition that he won together with the Kelemen Quartet, and the 1st prize and six special awards at the Indianapolis International Violin Competition, thanks to which he was allowed to use the Ex-Gingold Stradivari violin made in 1683 and the Tourte violin bow for four years. In Hungary, he was awarded the Prime Primissima Prize, the Knight's Cross of the Order of the Hungarian Republic and the Kossuth Prize.


Péter Zombola. Photo: Vera Éder