The point is to increase gradually the level of the understanding, cultivation and practice of musical art. This task falls particularly to the new Academy.

Liszt to Antal Augusz

Masters class held by acclaimed art professors, including instructor from the Liszt Academy, to be launched in Singapore

18 February 2021

Violinist Vilmos Szabadi, associate professor at the Liszt Academy, to hold online classes for two months at the invitation of the Singapore Violin Festival.

“I have been returning to the South Asian city-state for many years now; the series of invitations started in 2012 with an invite for a solo performance and a masterclass”, says Hungarian violinist Vilmos Szabadi of his long-standing relationship with Singapore. Szabadi is a Meritorious Artist, recipient of the Bartók-Pásztory and Ferenc Liszt Awards, two-time MIDEM, Príma as well as HUNGAROTON Prize-winning performer. Later, the local academy of music organised a violin competition every three years, which over time became one of the largest competitions of the kind on the globe. The first event took place in 2015, with a first prize amounting to $ 50,000, which was complemented by countless concert invitations for the winners. Organisers invited Vilmos Szabadi to the competition as a jury member. Szabadi was next invited to the violin festival together with Pierre Amoyal and Midori Goto; the festival is closely tied to the educational institution, as its artistic director, world-renowned Chinese violinist Zhou Qian is head of department at the Academy.

The latest invitation to teach the soon-to-begin online classes for two months came after the masterclass that is traditionally held in December, recounts Vilmos Szabadi. It is unique on two accounts: its long duration and the outstandingly high interest in the course despite the high participation fee. A staggering number of about 270,000 violinists applied to take part in the masterclass. Online classes are held by internationally acclaimed artists, including Shmuel Ashkenasi, Pierre Amoyal, Shlomo Mintz and Vadim Gluzman. A special committee has selected the candidates who can take part in the classes and their final number is not yet known, Vilmos Szabadi adds.

“The quality of music education in many parts of Asia is amazing, students are technically well-prepared and most of them are at the forefront of international competitions, outstripping Europeans contestants. The notion that Far Eastern violinists have an excellent technical foundation, learn accurate beat tracking and intonation, but  instructors need to work a lot with them on emotional expression is a thing of the past. These days, Far Eastern violinists are competent in the latter category as well, and with the guidance of a good instructor they learn to understand and interpret the composer's intentions, and to filter the given work through their own personality, thus adding additional depth to their performance. For Western students, the situation is often the opposite, as technical issues also need to be taught vigorously”, Szabadi notes.

Naturally, online education cannot be a substitute for in-person classes. However, according to Vilmos Szabadi, the efficiency of online classes is a near match to in-person classes provided the appropriate technology is available: a high-resolution and large screen, excellent speakers and microphones, as well as a professional computer programme to ensure the highest quality of musical sound and picture. This allows the master to teach even the smallest technical nuances and sophisticated musical and performing gestures, no matter the distance between instructor and students, enriching their studies with unique experiences and inspiration. Szabadi notes that the Academy in Singapore has dedicated rooms for online education with state-of-the-art equipment and with professional, musically trained interpreters assisting the work.

Vilmos Szabadi will take the stage as a soloist with the MÁV Symphony Orchestra at the Liszt Academy on February 25. The event has undergone slight modifications due to the epidemic situation and Hubay’s Violin Concerto No. 3 has been removed from the programme. “I will perform Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 4 in D major with the orchestra; we have selected this piece because it requires a smaller number of people,” the artist explains. Fun fact: the artist has performed this piece on the occasion of the composer’s 250th birth anniversary, also at this historic venue.


Zoltán Zsiray-Rummer