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

The history of the Conducting Department

Soon after Jenő Hubay was appointed Director of the Liszt Academy in 1919, the institutional requirements of the conductor training were fulfilled. The vocal teacher training was also started around that time, as part of an institutional restructuring.

From 1946, orchestral conducting was taught in the Orchestral Conducting Programme of the Composition Department, by masters of music such as László Somogyi, András Kórodi and Ervin Lukács. The choral conducting training took place at the High School Music Teaching and Choral Conducting Department (later renamed Music Teaching and Choral Conducting Department), where Zoltán Vásárhelyi, Lajos Bárdos, Erzsébet Szőnyi, István Párkai and other renowned educators built an institute that is still a defining force in choral conductor training.

The present Conducting Department was established in 2007, after its predecessor, the Music Teaching and Choral Conducting Department merged with the orchestral conducting programme. In the current, multi-cycle degree system students who complete the bachelor’s degree programme become eligible to apply for the Choral Conductor and the Orchestra Conductor master’s degree programmes. In 2013, a so called one-tier teacher training programme was announced, which offers students the opportunity to obtain a double degree in Music Teaching and Choral Conducting, and in Music Theory Teaching and Choral Conducting, respectively. Since 1997, the department has been led by Éva Kollár, Péter Erdei, and András Ligeti; the current Head of Department is Csaba Kutnyánszky.

After finishing their graduate studies, our most talented students have the opportunity to participate in the Choral Conducting programme of the Liszt Academy’s Doctoral School, and obtain a Doctor of Liberal Arts (DLA) degree upon successful completion. The programme is led by Professor Salamon Kamp.

Conducting Department has a strong professional connection with the the Liszt Academy’s Choir and Orchestra. The choir and the orchestra, both of which have been around almost since the establishment of the Liszt Academy, were reorganized in 1920. Since their establishment, the two artistic ensembles have been a place for quality collaboration between masters and their disciples. 

The choir was inactive for one and a half decades after World War II, and it restarted its operations in 1959, led by Zoltán Vásárhelyi. After István Párkai’s leadership that lasted for several decades, the choir was led by Péter Erdei from 2006 to 2013. The current choir leader is Csaba Somos. The Liszt Academy’s ensembles play an active role in the concert life of Budapest, by being regular contributors in the university’s season ticket concert series.