My friends are those who haunt the Ideal; there, dear friend, we 'recognize' each other, and shall always do so…

Liszt to Ödön Mihalovich

Liszt Academy Concert Centre

On hearing the word Zeneakadémia (Academy of Music), most people recall the concert hall where they had their first memorable concert experience and listened to great performers of the past era. It is also looked on as the sanctuary of music. As for the musicians, they see the Academy as their home, where they gained their global musical knowledge, where they feel themselves to be members of a large family and where they always like to return. In fact, the Academy of Music is much more than a concert venue: it is a part of European cultural heritage and its spirit has raised Hungary among the greatest musical nations of the world. Its building, a jewel of Hungarian Art Nouveau architecture, was completely renovated between 2010 and 2013. Its concert chambers have been restored to their original state with all their original ornamentation and splendour while they have also been equipped with the very latest technical devices. There are more, larger and more modern spaces for both education and performances.

Not only the building but also the organization and coordination of concerts has been renewed. After the re-opening of the Academy of Music in October 2013, the Liszt Academy Concert Centre was established; its role is to plan its own programmes and rent out concert venues. The Liszt Academy Concert Centre has brought new colour to Budapest’s concert life. We build on the uniqueness of the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music, reckoning on its workshops and talented performers. It is especially important for us to organize as many performances as possible for our students, that is to say, for the rising generation of musicians, to help them launch their careers. Then there is a part of this work which is less visible to audiences: a Career Office has been established to help our students with career advice and to provide them with music management skills and also opportunities to perform in Hungary and abroad.

Chamber music plays the most important role among our programmes since both the Grand Hall and the Solti Hall create an exceptional atmosphere for performances: there is a close, inspiring relationship between performers and audience, in which even the most intimate musical gestures become palpable. Our goal is to restore the former prestige of chamber music by organizing concerts of classical and new pieces of this genre performed by highly esteemed artists. We organize performance series to serve this purpose, including the festival kamara.hu or the “Complete Works Live” series. The latter was created to introduce audiences to all of the pieces composed for the same arrangement of instruments by a particular composer.

Of course, the Academy is also the home of symphonic music and it has remained an important concert venue for most of Budapest’s symphony orchestras, which in turn brings exceptional quality and excellent conductors and soloists to our halls. Formed by our students, the resident symphony orchestra of the Academy of Music each year give a series of performances with highly esteemed domestic and international conductors. The organization of music competitions is also becoming an increasingly important part of our work. We have launched the Bartók World Competition and Festival series and this year we celebrate the third Eva Marton Singing Competition.

The world is changing ever more quickly around us, including our relation to music: we listen to music differently, musical variety has become wider, virtually everything is available, borders are opened, and a multitude of festivals offer almost continuous programmes. We are pleased that we can take an active part in this diversity by offering a choice of quality in music. The Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music wishes to continue the noble tradition of its long-established concert halls: our aim is to present the best performers and performances in concerts where art and knowledge are the most important elements – everything else needs to be left outside. At the same time, we are following the latest trends in communication with the public and in ticket sales, aiming to give our audience the best experience. Our renewed website also serves this purpose and we hope that it will help when it comes to choosing from our many programmes.

András Csonka, Programme Director