I am not exaggerating when I say that, whatever I achieved as a musician, I owe more to Leó Weiner than to anyone else. ... To me, he remains an outstanding example of what a musician should be.

Sir Georg Solti

Day of Hungarian Classical Music Founded by the Liszt Academy and the Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra

23 March 2021

With the stated intent of establishing a tradition, the Liszt Academy and the Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra is launching a series of programmes called The Day of Hungarian Classical Music on May 30, commemorating the birthday of the late pianist and conductor Zoltán Kocsis. The organisers have invited several ensembles and educational institutions across the country to participate in the event.

This year marks the fifth anniversary of the death of Zoltán Kocsis, two-time Kossuth and Ferenc Liszt Prize-winning pianist, conductor and composer, chief music director of the Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra, and one of the most influential Hungarian artists of the past half century. “He was a lecturer at the Liszt Academy, taught master classes to our students and also worked as the conductor of the Liszt Academy Symphony Orchestra. The way he wanted to pass on his knowledge was truly inspiring. Although he is no longer with us, his memory and his artistic legacy do not fade with the years,” emphasized Dr. Andrea Vigh, rector of the Liszt Academy, on the occasion of announcing the full-day programme organised jointly with the National Philharmonic Orchestra.

“The name of the National Philharmonic Orchestra reminds people of the highest artistic standard. Chief music director Zoltán Kocsis started working with the Orchestra in 1997. This artistic quality is the fruit of his talent and ruthless perfectionism. His memory binds us to showcase how Hungarian classical music and Hungarian musical talent make Hungary a veritable musical superpower,” added Domonkos Herboly, Director General of the National Philharmonic Orchestra.

The aspiration of the Liszt Academy and the National Philharmonic Orchestra is to have Hungarian classical music played in as many places as possible throughout the country: in concert halls, schools and public spaces, and to increase public knowledge of the values of Hungarian music.

The two organisers expect to introduce the young talents of music schools and higher education institutions, in other words the emerging Hungarian classical music artists, as well as to stage premieres of new works. Their goal is for audiences to get to know the young generation of Hungarian classical music. To this end, they have invited the country's ensembles and music schools to take part in the event, mainly with programmes consisting of Hungarian works, and, where possible in light of the pandemic situation, to make recordings of the performances in their own cities.

The National Philharmonic Orchestra and the Liszt Academy will broadcast the recorded performances online on May 30 or the days running up to this date.

To date, nearly twenty music schools across the country and a number of acclaimed ensembles have indicated their intention to participate. In addition to works by Bartók and Kodály, their programmes also feature compositions by contemporary Hungarian authors.


Zoltán Kocsis (photo: Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra/László Kenéz)


Zoltán Kocsis worked with several classical music orchestras from across the country. On his birthday, in addition to the Budapest Festival Orchestra and the Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra, audiences will hear performances by the Győr Philharmonic Orchestra, the Pannon Philharmonic Orchestra, the Miskolc Symphony Orchestra, and the Alba Regia Symphony Orchestra of Székesfehérvár. Famous conductors of the nation will take the stage on this celebratory occasion to talk about their relationship with Zoltán Kocsis as artist and friend, and his musician friends will share their thoughts before the performance of the musical works.

The closing concert of the events on May 30 will be a performance by the National Philharmonic Orchestra in the Grand Hall of the Liszt Academy, featuring conductor Gergely Madaras and cello artist Gergely Devich. The programme includes a new composition by Gyula Fekete, Erkel and Bartók–Pásztory Prize-winning composer, deputy rector and head of department at the Liszt Academy, as well as Erkel's Festive Overture, the Viola Concerto by Bartók/Serly (cello transcript), Dohnányi's Symphonic Minutes, the Dances of Galánta by Kodály and Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2.

The long-term goal of the initiative is to support the creation of new Hungarian classical music works. The organisers hope that participating ensembles and institutions will be able to apply for funding to order these works in 2022. More information related to the support for performing the new works and the detailed conditions of participation is expected to be available from June 2021.

The website of the event (www.magyarklasszikuszenenapja.hu) will soon go live, featuring the full programme of the event.