Liszt is to piano playing what Euclid is to geometry.

Alan Walker

The composition round of the Bartók World Competition and Festival has proved to be especially popular

22. November 2018

The piano pieces of two Hungarian composers are among the international finalist entries that have been selected to be performed on 25 November from over two hundred submissions.

The piano category winners of the composition round of the Bartók World Competition and Festival are announced at a celebratory gala dotted with poems and letter excerpts on 25 November 2018 in the beautiful Solti Hall of the Liszt Academy. The winning piano pieces are performed by the most sought-after Hungarian pianists of today. The evening marks the first time that János Balázs and Balázs Fülei, two of the most successful of the new generation of pianists share the stage, joined by talented young pianist Balázs Kálvin, who graduated from the Liszt Academy in 2014.


Balázs Fülei & János Balázs

The Liszt Academy launched the Bartók World Competition and Festival event series commemorating the 135th anniversary of Béla Bartók’s birth, financed by the Ministry of Human Capacities. Béla Bartók is one of the most significant composers of the 20th century, and his body of work is an important part of the cultural legacy of both Hungary and the world. His art and scientific work are revolutionary, his influence is still felt, and his compositions are among the most valuable pieces of music history.


Bartók was a graduate, and later professor of the Liszt Academy, where several of his pieces premiered. It was his last workplace before leaving for the United States. It is therefore the moral duty of the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music to preserve and cherish his legacy, and popularize his art in Hungary and abroad at events worthy of its place in music history.


Music competitions are significant events of the international music scene, and the most important factors in talented young musicians' professional development, becoming known, and integration into the concert world. The most prestigious music competitions are organized by countries with the richest musical legacy. Hungary was the first to launch a music competition in Bartók’s name, preceding other countries’ similar initiatives.


The Bartók Word Competition series has a six-year cycle based on the most characteristic traits of Bartók’s body of work: it focuses on piano, violin and chamber music, as well as composition. It started in 2017 with a violin competition, and this year it continued with a composition competition. Internationally renowned jury members (composers and performers) from abroad have accepted the invitation of the Liszt Academy for both rounds of the competition.


The composition category of the Bartók World Competition has proven to be immensely popular among contestants: from 53 countries, altogether 214 entries (5-6 minute-long solo piano pieces) have been submitted by composers under 40 from all over the world. 204 composers have submitted their entries for the piano round of the Bartók Competition in 2019 after the first round (for violinists) concluded with unprecedented success. Beside the 25 Hungarian applicants, Italians, Americans and South Koreans participated in the greatest numbers, and there are also submissions from Uzbekistan, Mexico, and Iran. The number of entries also proves that Hungarian world competitions have prestige, and their professional conception is substantial. It also shows that the music community has faith in the continuation of a contest that puts Hungary in the limelight in connection with the Bartók traditions, a unique competition structure, and the realization process.


Performing any of Bartók’s pieces in concerts and in competitions is an important professional measure for every artist. Some of the winning entries of the competition rounds of the Bartók World Competition will be the performance pieces of the competition next year, so the next generation of the best instrumental musicians can prepare Bartók’s pieces to perform, and young composers will be inspired to create new pieces in Bartók's spirit.


Detailed programme of the gala concert on 25  November, starting at 19.30:


BARTÓK COMPOSITION COMPETITION 2018 – image spot can be found here.

Further information:

Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music Communications and Media Contents Directorate

Phone: +36 (1) 462 4600/172, e-mail: sajto [at] zeneakademia [dot] hu