The most important class, however, for me and for hundreds of other Hungarian musicians, was the chamber-music class. From about the age of fourteen, and until graduation from the Academy, all instrumentalists except the heavy-brass players and percussionists had to participate in this course. Presiding over it for many years was the composer Leó Weiner, who thus exercised an enormous influence on three generations of Hungarian musicians.

Sir Georg Solti

This year’s Bartók World Competition boasts the broadest-ever range of international applicants

21 June 2021

On 15 June, the deadline for applications was closed, and even in these difficult times of the pandemic, 33 ensembles submitted their entry videos on the online interface for this year’s string quartet competition website, which far exceeded the expectations of the Liszt Academy, which will be hosting the event. There are two Hungarian quartets among the candidates. In a very broad international field, applications were received from 19 countries, and the members of the quartets represent a total of 31 countries.

The competition office keeps records of the entrants according to their country of foundation or their most usual rehearsal venues and finds that most of them are European: Swiss, Italian, French, British, Russian and German, as well as four quartets from the United States, two from mainland China and one from Hong Kong, one from Canada, two from Korea and one from Japan. The diverse range of candidates is well represented by the fact that a quartet formed in Vienna, for example, is made up of an English, Dutch, Hungarian and Italian musician, while another ensemble based in Spain is composed of two Spanish, one Lithuanian and one Bulgarian-Turkish musician.

The widespread interest demonstrates the success of the international campaign for the Bartók World Competition: the organisers not only promoted the event worldwide through online advertisements, but also contacted professional organisations and all the arts universities on the five continents where chamber music training is provided.

The application videos containing two pieces of a set repertoire are judged within ten days by the Academy’s pre-selection jury led by Kossuth Prize-winning violinist-conductor András Keller, and those who qualify for the live rounds starting on 25 October will be notified by 25 June. The gala concert, which includes the awards ceremony – with prize money totalling €24,000 – will take place in the Academy’s Grand Hall on 31 October. Depending on the pandemic situation, the audience is expected to be able to personally attend the competition; however, each round will also be available on high-quality online streaming worldwide.