Liszt is to piano playing what Euclid is to geometry.

Alan Walker

Record number of composers submitted entries for this year's Bartók World Competition

26 August 2020

This time around, the Liszt Academy invited composers to submit entries for this year's round of the Bartók World Competition, with works written for string quartet. A record number of 348 valid applications were submitted from 59 countries by the official deadline. The final result of the competition will be announced at the gala event scheduled for November 28.

"We expected a lot of contestants given that the coronavirus epidemic has kept almost everyone at home and composers mostly work at home," said composer Gyula Fekete, vice rector of the Liszt Academy and the artistic director of the composers section of the Bartók World Competition. "Yet this significant interest is a joyful and enchanting result, because it reaffirms our work devoted to the creation and promotion of the Bartók World Competition and lays the foundation for its further success," he added.

According to the recently finished review, 326 applicants from 59 countries submitted valid applications with 348 compositions, eleven competitors submitted 2 compositions each, four submitted 3 each, and one submitted 4 compositions. There are 273 men and 53 women among the competitors, the youngest is only 10 years old and the oldest is 40 years old, which is still below the age limit. According to the citizenship breakdown, most applications are from China (40), followed by the USA (30), Hungary (23), the United Kingdom (20) and South Korea (23), but entries have been submitted by citizens of Latin American and other Asian countries as well.

The pre-selection jury, chaired by Gyula Fekete, will select the 15 compositions that will advance to the next stage by September 5. In addition to Fekete, the four other members of the panel (Máté Bella, Zsolt Serei, Péter Tornyai and János Vajda) are professors at the Liszt Academy and all of them are renowned contemporary composers who have won several awards during their careers.

Of the 15 selected works, the international jury will choose the winner. The chairman of the panel is the world-famous Hungarian composer-conductor Péter Eötvös, and its members are Unsuk Chin, renowned South Korean composer living in Germany; Israeli-American composer Chaya Czernowin, professor at Harvard University; Johannes Meissl, renowned violinist, chamber musician and professor, one of the artistic directors of the European Chamber Music Academy and vice-rector of the Vienna Academy of Music; as well as  Gyula Fekete on behalf of the Liszt Academy.

The works will be presented to the two juries under the pseudonyms provided by the applicants, and the competition secretariat will only publish these pseudonyms after September 5, thus the competition will remain anonymous.

The final result of the competition, offering prizes in a total amount of EUR 10,000, will be announced at the Awards Gala Concert scheduled for November 28, where young ensembles will perform the award-winning works. The Korossy Quartet, the Kállai Quartet and the Kökény Quartet have all accepted the invitation of the Liszt Academy.

Some of the award-winning works will also be included in the repertoire of next year's round of the Bartók World Competition for string quartets.