On 9 September, 2017, 44 contestants arrived in Budapest for the Bartók World Competition and Festival. In accordance with the official drawing lots, the Preliminary round started with Competitor No.47, the Japanese Tategami Mai. Already on the opening day of the event series organised by the Liszt Academy, a wide range of extraordinary musical and historical treats awaited the audience.
As the President of the Liszt Academy, Dr Andrea Vigh highlighted in her welcome address ” Bartók’s roots are at the Liszt Academy since this institution was his alma mater. This Festival is therefore closely connected to Bartók’s many faces: the composer, the folk music researcher and the pianist. Besides the competition, we are awaiting the public with other supplementary programmes, which will make the event series even more colourful.” She added that „The jury of the competition consists of world-renowned artists, which is a great honour to us” and then the President officially opened the World Competition. The head of the jury, Salvatore Accardo was talking about his expectations: ” It will be a wonderful experience to spend the following 10 days with these jurors.” He also stressed the significance of the Bartók’s works composed for the violin and emphasised the importance of Budapest on the world map of violinists. The name of the first competitor to step on the stage was drawn by the youngest contestant of the World Competition, the merely 17-year-old Elias David Moncado: accordingly, on Sunday, 10 September, at 2pm, the first violinist to perform the programme will be the Japanese Tategami Mai. She will be followed by contestants in alphabetical order starting with T, and then again A, the beginning of the alphabet. As to the Hungarian candidates, Oszkár Varga will be taking to the stage on Sunday afternoon, Gábor Homoki and Nicolette Kocsardy in the evening, while Ágnes Langer and László Nyári will both be playing on Monday afternoon to the jury and the audience. For the detailed order of performers in the Preliminary round, please click here.
In the morning at the sightseeing tour Bartók’s Budapest, László Stachó, member of the academic staff and researcher of the Liszt Academy as well as of the Faculty of Music at the University of Szeged introduced the tour participants to the world of the greatest 20th century Hungarian composer, while talking about his relationships with his teachers, his fellow-musicians and colleagues and with his students. The tour then continued at Bartók’s homes, first in the city centre, at Szilágyi Dezső Square, then in Csalán Street, which proved to be his long-term residence in Budapest. The visitors could catch a glimpse at the composer’s personal, especially commissioned furniture from Körösfő as well as at the memorabilia collected during his folk music collection trips.
In the course of the activities of the Liszt Kidz Academy arranged this time especially for the occasion of the World Competition, children of 6-12 had the opportunity to become familiar with Béla Bartók, the folk music researcher and composer, were to solve playful tasks related to Bartók’s piano works and took part in a music drama activity, which evoked The Wooden Prince composed by the musical giant.
After the drawing lots, mini-concerts were given by the students of the School for Special Young Talents of the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music in collaboration with the Chamber Music and Folk Music Departments.