Our task is to form veritable talents who possess the necessary gifts to become masters, without attending to the ungifted mediocrity.

Liszt to Giovanni Sgambati

Liszt Academy hosts unparalleled World Competition evoking Béla Bartók’s spirit and legacy


„As the Alma Mater of Béla Bartók, it is the mission of the Liszt Academy to care for his oeuvre of great international significance.” –pointed out the founder and initiator of the Competition, the President of the Liszt Academy, Dr Andrea Vigh, at the press conference prior to the event on 7 September, 2017.

„We consider it a great honour that the Ministry of Human Resources has found this unique event worthy of funding. The Chief Patrons of the Competition are the President of the Hungarian Republic, János Áder and Lady Valerie Solti. During this event, we intend to bring closer Bartók’s personality by allowing insight into the mysteries of his relationship with music in order to render his work more understandable and accessible to all.”- added Dr Vigh.  

„The programme schedule was received with enthusiasm all over the world, and the Hungarian audience has also welcomed it with great curiosity. It is quite unique that the Competition also involves a festival, which is made even more colourful by the sightseeing tour Bartók’s Budapest (to be held twice on the opening day), and by the children’s activities of the Liszt Kidz Academy. The official opening ceremony of the Competition will start at 4pm with a public drawing lots that will determine the order by which the young musicians will come to the stage in the Preliminary Round.   This is followed by mini-concerts presenting the multifacetedness of Bartók’s music. So as to make the programme of the competition even more enjoyable, before the rounds staging the composer’s individual works, brief musicological introductions will be delivered for those willing to immerse deeper in the composer’s world.” – emphasised the Programme Director of the Concert and Event Centre of the Liszt Academy, András Csonka.


Photo: Liszt Academy / Andrea Felvégi


Following the Preliminary and Semi-final rounds consisting primarily of Bartók’s sonatas and virtuoso pieces for violin, the contestants will also prove themselves by playing other classical music works at the Final and Grand Final.  On 17 September, at the Gala Concert, the jury will announce the names of the laureates of the Competition, whose performance will then be accompanied by the Hungarian Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by János Kovács.

The World Competition is a real musical treat, as, according prospective plans, it is designed not only for a single instrument but for several categories. Having taken into account other world competitions, this year, the focus is on violinists, while in two years, we will welcome pianists, and then in turn, we will concentrate on chamber music and string quartets. Also composers will have the opportunity to compete, for the first time most probably in 2018: then we will expect the candidates to compose piano pieces that can be performed at the World Competition in 2019.

The side-programme of musicology with the title Bartók and the Violin will be launched on 14 September organised by the Institute for Musicology of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Pál Richter, Head of the Folk Music Department of the Liszt Academy and the Director of the Institute for Musicology stated that „The violin plays a just as important role in Bartók’s oeuvre as the piano, even though Bartók himself never learned to play the instrument, still he knew everything about it. The world’s leading Bartók experts as well as young PhD and M.A. scholars of musicology will be disclosing the depths and show the jewels of Bartók’s exceptional and unparalleled world so closely and in so many ways connected to the folk music pieces he himself collected.

One of the Hungarian contestants, Oszkár Varga, who – alongside a fellow-violinist, Éva Osztrosits - played three Bartók’s Duets for Two Violins to the participants of the press conference said: „Taking part in an international festival as a Hungarian competitor is both easier and more difficult, as it involves great responsibility.” He considers his fellow-competitors as colleagues rather than rivals. Is is an extraordinary challenge for him to prepare himself for several rounds at the same time, but he believes that it's not the winning but the taking part that really counts. 


Photo: Liszt Academy / Andrea Felvégi


Prizes of the competition

The total prize money of the Bartók World Competition and Festival held in honour of the composer’s 135th birthday amounts to 44.000 EUR.

The top three contestants will be awarded as follows:

o   1st prize: 22. 000 EUR,

o   2nd prize: 14. 000 EUR,

o   3rd prize: 8. 000 EUR 

Special prizes will be also awarded by the sponsors and partners of the Competition.

For further details and information, please visit the official website of the Competition at http://bartokworldcompetition.hu/en/home.