Kodály's method of teaching music is brilliant …. All good music-making begins with the voice.

Sir Georg Solti

History of the Piano Department

The history of piano teaching at the Liszt Academy goes back to 1875, the year of the institution's foundation. The first piano professors were director Ferenc Erkel and Franz Liszt himself, who founded the Academy.
In the 1888-89 academic year, the first special preparatory classes in piano, violin and cello were launched under the directorship of Ödön Mihalovich. It was the piano department where teacher training first begun on 8 October 1891.
Between 1889-1907, Liszt's disciple, István Thomán taught piano at the Academy. The list of his students includes names like Béla Bartók, Ernst von Dohnányi, Arnold Székely, Frigyes Reiner, Iván Engel and Imre Ungár. In 1906, Thomán published his six-volume collection of Technique of Piano Playing, which has served as part of the curriculum of Liszt Academy students throughout many generations and is still in use today.
In 1927, Bartók described his professor as follows: „...To study at Thomán goes beyond learning the profession of piano playing and aiming at excellence. The education I receive from him directly touches the human soul while training the pianist's hand and the musician's ear."
Bartók and Dohnányi, brilliant students of Thomán, later became outstanding personalities of the next generation of professors. Bartók taught piano students from 1906 until 1940 except from one year, while Dohnányi started to teach in the 1916-17 academic year when taking over the position as head of department from the retired Kálmán Chovan. Dohnányi taught pianists like Géza Anda, Béla Böszörményi-Nagy, György Faragó, Annie Fischer, Andor Földes, Endre Petri, Péter Solymos, Ernő Szegedi and Tibor Wehner. For a short period of time, Dohnányi taught György Cziffra and Ernő Dániel.
Arnold Székely, another accomplished professor, taught such excellent artists and professors as György Sebők, Georg Solti, Ervin Nyíregyházi, and Mrs. Miklós Máthé, Klára Kéri, "Miss Klári Máthé" as everybody knew her, who, in her turn, taught the child Dezső Ránki, Csilla Szabó, Attila Némethy, Árpár Joó, Gyula Kiss, Balázs Szokolay, Péter Nagy, Gábor Csalog, Balázs Kecskés, Tünde Csoba, Attila Pertis, Gergely Bogányi in the Special School for Exceptional Young Talents.
The emblematic figure of the post-war era was composer and pianist Pál Kadosa. He launched the career of many widely renown pianists including Zoltán Kocsis, András Schiff, Dezső Ránki, Jenő Jandó. György Kurtág and Ferenc Rados also taught at this time, both of them are regarded as exceptional pedagogues. Another great professor of this era was Lajos Hernádi whose outstanding pedagogical activity spread across the department, two of his students became international stars, i.e. Tamás Vásáry, Péter Frankl.
As regards the students of Dohnányi and his colleagues, György Faragó and Péter Solymos became also noteworthy pianists and teachers. Their disciple, Mihály Bächer, was the professor of Sándor Falvai who is still teaching at the Department - president: 1997- 2004 -, while Péter Solymos taught István Lantos, who served not only as the president of the Academy for many years, but also as the head of the Piano Department and the Master training course.
After András Batta had become the president of the institution, it was Sándor Falvai who took over the position of Lantos. Between 2007 - 2011, a representative of the new generation, Péter Nagy, a student of Peter Rados, lead the Piano Department.