For six years, I received the most significant part of my formal musical education at the Liszt Academy.

Sir Georg Solti

Candidates from 14 countries of three continents to arrive for this year’s Bartók World Competition

29 May 2019

Young pianists from all over the world, even from Iceland, have sent their applications to participate in this year’s piano contest of the Bartók World Competition & Festival. Even though the compulsory repertoire was truly demanding that didn’t prevent the young artists from qualifying: applications have been received not only from Taiwan, Russia and Switzerland, but from the United States and from Japan as well.

The pre-jury from the Liszt Academy of Music: Professor Kálmán Dráfi, Head of the Keyboard and Harp Department, Gábor Eckhardt, senior lecturer and Katalin Falvai, pianist have chosen 38 applicants to compete in the live Preliminary Round. To enter the Qualifying Round, candidates had to upload a video recording of them playing the first (allegretto) or the second (scherzo) movement of Béla Bartók’s Suite, Op. 14., and one of Ferenc Liszt’s Études, chosen by the candidate.



“This is an extraordinary and atypical repertoire.  The number of contestants indicates that young pianists consider Bartók’s music as a great challenge which they are willing to overcome. They are playing and practising Bartók’s pieces with love and joy because it makes them thrive and gives them strength” said Dr Andrea Vigh, President of the Liszt Academy of Music, which organises the competition.

Besides Bartók’s determining pieces, the repertoire of the Preliminary includes Liszt’s, Dohnányi’s and Brahms’ works. The six candidates who qualify for the Semi-Finals will have to play one Bartók-piece, a piano sonata of the First Viennese School and one award-winning piece from last year’s composer’s competition: either Dániel Dobos’ Drumul Dracului or János Mátyás Stark’s Toccata (free scores will be available to download from the publisher’s - Universal Music Publishing Editio Musica Budapest – website).

In the Final round, contestants will play a piece of the Romantic period and one composition either by Ravel, Debussy, Rachmaninov, Scriabin or Stravinsky. The Grand Final takes place in the Great Hall where the three finalists will play one of Béla Bartók’s or Ferenc Liszt’s piano concertos.

The nine members of the competition’s Jury are all internationally acclaimed musicians:  Tamás Vásáry, the Kossuth-prize winner pianist and conductor; the aforementioned Professor Kálmán Dráfi; Tibor Tallián, one of the most eminent researchers of Bartók’s life, an Erkel-prize winner music historian; Andrei Korobeinikov, one of the most promising young Russian pianists; the South Korean Steinway Artist Klara Min; professor of the Manhattan  School of Music, Alexandre Moutouzkine, famous for his interpretations of Cuban piano music; the Norwegian pianist, Einar Steen-Nøkleberg; the Lithuanian Mūza Rubackytė and the worldwide-known interpreter of Liszt’s and Bartók’s music: Kenji Watanabe.

The live rounds start on the 9th of September at the Academy’s Solti Hall, the Grand Final will take place on the 14th. The competition ends with a Gala Concert featuring the Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Zsolt Hamar.