Liszt is to piano playing what Euclid is to geometry.

Alan Walker

Jury names three Bartók World Competition finalists

13 September 2019

On Saturday, Ádám Balogh, Peter Klimo and Ádám Szokolay are to compete in the orchestral finals of the Bartók World Competition organized by the Academy of Music. The three pianists will each play a piece of their own choice accompanied by the Hungarian National Philharmonic conducted by Zsolt Hamar.

The solo finals of this year’s Bartók World Competition took place on Thursday evening with six competitors from four countries appearing in the Grand Hall of the Academy of Music, the organizer of the event.

Ádám Szokolay played pieces by Liszt and Debussy, Ádám Balogh chose compositions by Chopin and Ravel, and the Ukrainian Darya Dadykina gave a performance of Schubert and Stravinsky. After the break, Hungarian-American Peter Klimo played pieces by Liszt and Scriabin, Krisztián Kocsis selected pieces by Brahms and Debussy, and the Spaniard Alberto Greer Menjon Bohanna performed works by Schumann and Prokofiev.


Photo: Liszt Academy/Dénes Erdős


Klara Min, the world-renowned Steinway artist and member of the jury, observed during the break that the entrants represented an especially high standard, as had become clear after the semi-finals, when 14 competitors, rather than the twelve that had originally been planned, qualified to continue. She added that the jury had an exciting task because the contestants had different talents and strengths. “I formed a different opinion of them in each round, which I found quite unusual,” she concluded. This she thought was partly due to the rather varied repertoires the pianists had chosen. She noted that she found several competitors less than well prepared psychologically, which showed in their performances.

The international jury decided that Ádám Balogh, Peter Klimo and Ádám Szokolay will go on to the orchestral finals on Saturday.


Photo: Liszt Academy/Dénes Erdős


Ádám Balogh was born in 1997, started playing the piano at age 7, and studied at the School for Extraordinary Talents at the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music, where he commenced his regular academic studies in 2016, with Attila Némethy for piano and Márta Gulyás for chamber music. His solo debut took place in 2010, when he was backed by the Budapest Festival Orchestra under the baton of Iván Fischer. Since then he has appeared with a number of noted orchestras both in Hungary and abroad. He has won a number of prestigious awards. His choice for the orchestral finals is the Piano Concerto in A major by Liszt.


Photo: Liszt Academy/Dénes Erdős

Peter Klimo, the Hungarian-American contestant, was born in 1990, began to study piano at age 9, and graduated from the Eastman School of Music. He earned his master’s degree from the Yale School of Music studying with Péter Frankl and an Artist Diploma from Texas Christian University under Tamás Ungár. He is currently pursuing his Doctorate of Musical Arts in Performance and Literature at the Eastman School of Music with Alan Chow. He has achieved distinguished placings in a number of competitions. He will play Piano Concerto No. 3 by Bartók in the orchestral finals.


Photo: Liszt Academy/Dénes Erdős


Ádám Szokolay was born in 1996 and started taking piano lessons from his mother at age 4. When he was 8, he was admitted to the Preparatory Faculty of the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music. As of 2015, he studied under Peter Serkin at Bard College, in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, and he has been a student in Grigory Gruzman’s class at the Hochschule für Musik Franz Liszt, Weimar, Germany, since 2018. He has won or received prizes in a number of international competitions. For the orchestral finals, he has chosen Piano Concerto No. 1 by Bartók.


Photo: Liszt Academy/Dénes Erdős


The competitors will be accompanied by the Hungarian National Philharmonic under the baton of Zsolt Hamar in the Grand Hall on Saturday.

The competition can be followed live on the Academy of Music online platforms. For other information, click on the portal.