...a country (Hungary) whose population, even today, is barely over ten million has produced so many musicians and so much outstanding music. I am grateful for having been born and trained there.

Sir Georg Solti

Bartók with freedom

5 July 2018

„Bartók is not to be an icon but a living entity for us” – the Bartók World Competition and Festival to be continued with the composers’ competition.

„I tried to tune into the music coming from the Eastern-European collective psyche.” –  perhaps this was the quality that enabled Cosima Soulez-Larivirère to be victorious at the first part of the Bartók World Competition and Festival organised for violinists in 2017. The competition in three rounds all along in public spotlight brought great acclaim both to the Liszt Academy and to the performing artists themselves. This year the event series will celebrate its second birthday, but this time, most of the contest will be held in the background: the compositions submitted by the applicants will first be shortlisted by the pre-jury consisting of five teachers of the Composition Department of the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music, and then the selected entries will go on to be assessed by prestigious international jury members. Not before the closing gala concert will the audience have the chance to listen to the outcome of the preceding eight month of hard work: the award-winning piano pieces of the Bartók World Competition’ composition round performed by the most outstanding pianists of the Hungarian music scene.



Gyula Fekete (Photo: Liszt Academy / Zoltán Tuba)


The composer Gyula Fekete will assume the role of a member in both juries. According to the artistic director of this year’s competition round, the gala concert will be a momentous event not only in the life of the Liszt Academy but also in the entire Hungarian music scene.  

- There are various competitions bearing Bartók’s name both in Hungary and abroad, but at the Liszt Academy, we meant to establish a contest series which presents Bartók’s genius in its multifacetedness while connecting him clearly to Hungary and to the Liszt Academy. When people hear Bartók’s name, Hungary and the Liszt Academy ought to come to their minds, where he was active as an academic, as a student and as a performing artist, and where many of his works were taken to the stage.  The competition is the brainchild of Dr Andrea Vigh, the president of the institution, and was meant to draw the world’s attention to Bartók now, when the property rights of his instrumental works expire and enter into the public domain to be accessed, performed and adapted free of charge by anyone.

The Bartók World Competition and Festival is no single event but a continual event series, a competition sequence.  Biannually, instrumental soloists or formations match their talents. These instrument play the most significant role in Bartók’s oeuvre, and particularly important are his compositions written for the piano, the violin and string quartets. These three form the foundation of the biannual performers’ contests, while the years in between will provide composers with the opportunity to compete and to establish some of the obligatory repertoire of next year’s instrumental competition.


Béla Bartók (Photo: Liszt Academy / Library)


This year’s contest has been announced on every channel that is available for the composers of the world to see and use: international composers’ websites and the largest music universities of the world. We seek to reach as many composers as possible with the announcement of the competition. It means a great honour to us that we have managed to win international jury members, composers for our cause who are in the absolute forefront of contemporary music. Their presence will lend prestige not only to the Hungarian music scene but also to the Liszt Academy itself. The list of the highly distinguished jurors  - the composers Tomas Adés, Chaya Chernowin and Unsuk Chin as well as the pianist Andrei Korobeinikov – will hold special attraction for the global community of composers. Personally, I feel greatly privileged to be part of this jury myself. 

We will encounter the audience at the gala concert in November, where we expect the finalists of the contest. This event will be open to everyone: the lovers of piano music as well as to all who are open to contemporary music and who wish to become familiar with the best quality piano pieces of our time.