Most valuable award for contemporary music goes to György Kurtág
February 13, 2015
The 2014 BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the category of contemporary music was awarded to György Kurtág on February 10th, 2015. The renowned Hungarian composer was nominated by both the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music and the Széchenyi Academy of Arts. The award is funded by the Spanish BBVA Foundation in order to promote and disseminate world-class scientific research and artistic creation. This honorable prize (worth 400,000€) will be presented to Kurtág by the BBVA on June 26th, 2015.
The jury in the contemporary music category stated that, "The novel dimension of Kurtág’s music lies not in the material he uses but in its spirit, the authenticity of its language, and the way it crosses borders between spontaneity and reflection, between formalism and expression." Additionally they are quoted as saying that Kurtág’s music, "…defies any system, accepts no compromise, and has traced a path independent from the mainstream. Today it stands as an alternative to a vision of history apparently confined to the opposition between innovation and a return to old models, between a music withdrawn into itself and a music that aims to communicate as broadly as possible."
The Foundation implements its programs in partnership with leading scientific and cultural organizations in Spain and abroad. It strives to prioritize those projects with the power to advance knowledge frontiers across the world. The BBVA Foundation established its Frontiers of Knowledge Awards in 2008 to recognize those who have made outstanding contributions in a broad range of scientific and technological fields while also representing cultural creativity at its expressive height in the area of music.
For more information, please visit the website of the Foundation.
Máté Bella's new work in the EMB catalogue - Premiere in Munich
January 27, 2015
Máté Bella’s new work was commissioned by the Musica Viva concert series of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. Composed in 2014, its world première takes place on 20 February 2015 in the Munich Hercules Hall, as part of a Musica Viva weekend devoted to contemporary music. It will be performed by the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Peter Eötvös. This publication is the first in the Peter Eötvös Foundation Series dedicated to new compositions by talented young composers discovered and supported by the Foundation.
The title refers to the Lethe, one of the rivers of Hades found in Greek mythology. The meaning of the name is “oblivion.” Dead souls drank from it to forget their earthly life, whose memories might poison their life in Eternity. Tradition also makes the Lethe the symbol of time as a dynamic, flowing, changing entity. Máté Bella’s composition follows this ancient symbolic structure and renders musically the flow of the mythical river.
For more about the première, see
Eight Invocations – World permiere and concert series
October 18, 2014
Eight Invocations to the Lunar Phases, a cycle for viola and piano by László Tihanyi published in 2011 will be premiered by Kim Kashkashian és Péter Nagy in Florence’s Teatro della Pergola on 15th November, preceding the Hungarian premier by nine days. During the spring of 2015 the piece will be performed repeatedly in the United States, e. g. at such distinguished venues as the Morgan Library in New York or the Library of Congress in Washington DC where Béla Bartók and József Szigeti gave a recital in 1940.
French premiere of joint opera project Out at S.E.A.
July 2, 2014
6 composers, 3 singers, 3 instrumentalists, and 1 conductor: Out at S.E.A. is a joint project supervised by Péter Eötvös, Luca Francesconi and Balázs Horváth and supported by the Peter Eötvös Contemporary Music Foundation and the Budapest Music Center. After performances in Budapest and Milan the French premiere takes places at IRCAM in Paris on July 9.
Out at S.E.A came into being as the result of a unique process, a combination of a composition workshop, a competition for composers, and a complex final phase of assembling the parts and creating and rehearsing the final result, a chamber opera. Or, rather, a double chamber opera, as the same libretto is set to music in two independent versions.
The process started with a four-day chamber opera workshop in April 2013, supervised and guided by Péter Eötvös, Luca Francesconi, and Balázs Horváth. Here the 37 participants reviewed and discussed the special opportunities of the libretto by András Almási-Tóth, based on Sławomir Mrożek’s play Out at S.E.A. (Someone Eats All), and the questions of the dramaturgy and the compositional technique. The workshop was followed by the individual creative process, lasting for several months. After this six composers were selected to compose the music for one of the characters.
The philosophy behind this unique procedure is Péter Eötvös’s observation that in all known operas one single composer writes the material for every character, so they have one hallmark. But what happens if the composer gives up his leading role? Three completely different characters meet in the story; so Péter Eötvös’s answer was that “each character should be composed by a different composer.”
What actually is Sławomir Mrożek’s one-act absurd drama all about? It is an embittered and disillusioned parable about issues of alienation, abuse of power, conformity, and the limits of freedom; about the possibilities of manipulation and the loss of belief in democracy. This is all packed into a grotesque but simple situation: three men in a boat have to decide which one of them should be eaten by the other two for survival. The three characters exemplify three types of people in society: the clever Manipulator, the cynical Conformist, and the eternal Victim.
It may not be a pure coincidence that five of the selected composers, like Sławomir Mrożek and Péter Eötvös themselves, came from countries with limited democratic traditions: Máté Gergely Balogh and Samu Gryllus are Hungarian, Diana Soh is from Singapore, Koka Nikoladze from Georgia, and Mariana Ungureanu from Moldavia, while the sixth composer, Christian Flury grew up in Austria. The invited conductor of the chamber opera is the Taiwanese Lin Liao, and the viola, cello, and clarinet parts are being played by Hungarian and Romanian artists.
The premiere of Out at S.E.A. took place in the Budapest Music Center on December 19, 2013, and the first production of its tour within the framework of the Ulysses Network was in Milan on February 26, 2014. The next event will be a performance at IRCAM in Paris on July 9, and there will be two more productions, one in Brussels (Flagey) and one in Mazsalaca, Latvia (International Workshop for Young Composers).
Requiem by János Vajda premiered on 10 May in Debrecen
May 10, 2014
János Vajda (1949) has always been highly acclaimed for his vocal output. His Mario and the Magician and Leonce and Lena founded his fame as the leading Hungarian opera composer of the last decades. But his contribution to Latin sacred music is equally substantial, his Magnificat, Pater noster and Mass in B having been his main achievements so far.
His Requiem for mixed choir and organ was composed in 2012 and premiered on 10th May 2014 by its dedicatees, the Canticum Novum Chamber Choir in Debrecen, directed by Ágnes Török. The piece has eight movements, and its peculiarity is that unlike Mozart but similarly to Fauré’s Requiem the piece does not include an Offertorium; however, Lux aeterna is followed by a Libera me and an In Paradisum movement. On the other hand, Vajda set to music the dramatic Medieval sequentia Dies irae, missing from Fauré’s Requiem. In any case, these differences are permitted by the flexibility of the liturgy.
As far as range or voice technique are concerned, this piece does not represent exraordinary requirements to the performers; from the point of view of intonation, it is reckoning on the abilities of a professional ensemble or an accomplished amateur choir. The composer is flexible not only in liturgical respects: the organ player is encouraged to alter the indicated registration depending on the instrument and the venue; and the solo sections are ad libitum in the sense that they can be sung by competent chorus members, by soloists from outside the chorus or, in the lack of capable soloists, they can also be allotted to the full choir.
But what is most important to mention: the dramatic and pictoresque qualities of the piece, the special attention paid to the subtleties of the text and the exceptional melodic invention give the piece an extraordinary expressive power. More than that, the variety of textures, sonorities and characters, the balanced structure of the work, so rich in contrasts, and, finally, its sensitive harmonic language exert a major impact on the listener from the very beginning.
International Piano Competition for children organized in Transylvania
April 23, 2014
The second edition of "Clara Peia" International Piano Competition organized at György Kurtág's hometown Lugoj on 25-26th April is dedicated to children between 5-13 years old. Editio Musica Budapest and Budapest Music Center offered a special prize "György Kurtág" (The eight books and CD recordings of Játékok) for the best performance of a contemporary piece.
World premiere for Péter Eötvös on 6 May in Portugal
April 4, 2014
The work da capo for cimbalom and ensemble was composed in winter 2013-2014 at the invitation of Porto’s Casa da Musica, the Salzburg Internationale Stiftung Mozarteum and New World Symphony, America’s Orchestral Academy (Miami). The cimbalom solo was inspired by the performance of Hungarian cimbalom player Miklós Lukács.
As the subtitle of the piece (mit Fragmenten aus W. A. Mozart’s Fragmenten) indicates the initial tunes come from Mozart’s notebooks. Eötvös presents these tunes to listeners in a clearly recognisable way, but he immediately develops and transforms them. Mozart’s themes are remodelled in the chamber ensemble, the instruments of which were still unknown in the 18th century, and the musical journey is made especially adventurous in that the solo (can be performed also the marimba) is presented by a musical instrument which cannot have been used in the 18th century.
Da capo be premiered at the Sala Suggia of Casa da Musica at Porto. The soloist will be Miklós Lukács, the Remix Ensemble will be conducted by the composer.
More about the concert / More about the work
World premiere for László Dubrovay: Concerto for Violoncello and Orchestra
March 26, 2014
The concerto was composed in 2012, inspired by István Várdai’s play and is dedicated to him. The triple movement structure and the character of the movements follow the patterns of classical concertos, while the thematic connections spanning the movements rather reflect the structural principles of Romantic symphonies.
It will be premiered on March 29 at the Grand Hall of Liszt Academy in Budapest. The soloist will be István Várdai, the Zugló Philharmonics Orchestra will be conducted by György Vashegyi.
More about the concert.
Works by Balázs Horváth and László Tihanyi performed in Vienna and Poznan
March 19, 2014
Ensemble arTrium (Steffi Mölle – flute, Odile Skarnes – viola, Zsuzsanna Aba-Nagy – harp) gives the Austrian premiere of Symmetry-Asymmetry by Balázs Horváth at the Alte Schmiede in Vienna on March 19.
More about the concert...
THReNSeMBle also performes pieces by Marcell Dargay, Péter Tornyai, Rafal Zapala and Pierre Boulez.Waiting for... by balázs Horváth and Summer Music by László Tihanyi will be premiered in Poland by THReNSeMBle and Balázs Horváth at the 43. Poznańska wiosna muzyczna, Poznań Festival on 22 March.
More about the concert and the festival...
Concert celebrating the 70th birthdays of Péter Eötvös and László Vidovszky
January 20, 2014
Péter Eötvös celebrated his 70th birthday on 2 January while László Vidovszky will be 70 on 25 February. The careers of the two composers are connected at several points, given their coinciding years of studies and the beginning of their careers, and also their joint work in the Budapest New Music Studio, their friendship and mutual friends.
in the Budapest Music Center
on 30 March features Shadows
(1996) by Péter Eötvös, composed for flute and chamber ensemble, and Reverb
(2011) by László Vidovszky, written for piano and string quartet. The programme will also include the Hungarian premieres of two works (Stockhausen: Schlagtrio
and Messiaen: Un vitrail et des oiseaux
) whose composers played an important part at the start of their careers. The UMZE Ensemble is conducted by Zoltán Rácz.
Kurtág’s Troussova cycle included in curriculum
January 20, 2014
This winter term the curriculum of the Opera School of the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Stuttgart included György Kurtág’s song cycle Messages of the Late Miss R. V. Troussova
and Alexander von Zemlinsky’s chamber opera Der Zwerg
. To mark the end of term they will be performed for the public on five occasions at the Wilhelma Theater between 8 and 16 February. The lead part in Kurtág’s work will be sung by the students divided according to the three parts of the cycle. The story on stage woven round the cycle focusses on passion, futile yearning and hopelessness expressed in music and verse. The instrumental parts will be played by the chamber orchestra of the college.
For more about the performance please click here
In memoriam Sándor Szokolay
December 16, 2013
Composer Sándor Szokolay passed away on 8 December 2013 at the age of 83. Members of his family, students and admirers bid their final farewell in the Lutheran Church and the Lutheran Cemetery in the town of Sopron on 21 December.
Sándor Szokolay was born in Kunágota (in the southeast of Hungary) on 30 March, 1931. He studied composition with Ferenc Szabó and Ferenc Farkas at the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music between 1950 and 1957. While still studying, he taught solfege in the framework of the Budapest Music School Organization. From 1955 to 1961 he was member of the editorial staff of the Hungarian Radio, then he was working as a freelance composer for some years. From 1966 to his retirement in 1994 he was professor of composition, counterpoint, and prosody at the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music. He also took the position of music reader of the Hungarian Television between 1977 and 1988. He has actively participated in the activity of severalorganizations, among them the Hungarian Kodály Society, the Hungarian Music Chamber, the Hungarian National Foundation and the Hungarian Radio Foundation.
Szokolay soon found his métier in vocal and dramatic music. He gained an impressive success with the oratorio A tűz márciusa (‘Fiery March’, 1957-58). In other works a definite inclination towards folk traditions developed. In these compositions, though he did not move far from Hungarian national intonation, he made reference to the ecstatic rhythms and instinctive expression of certain African peoples, so creating an individual style that shows certain affinities with the work of Bartók, Stravinsky and Orff. But all this was only a preparation for a major operatic undertaking, Blood Wedding (1962-64), based on Lorca’s play. While opera also played a major role in Szokolay’s oeuvre later, the intervening years saw the creation, alongside some instrumental compositions, of a number of oratorios and other choral works. His style was regenerated from the 80s onwards: he drew more from folk music and Gregorian chant, struggled to retain tonality and preserve melody, and continued to compose highly ornate vocal parts. In place of experimentation, his last period shows signs of concentration and summation. By the end of the 1990s he had composed three symphonies, enriching his life’s work with a new genre.
A significant part of Sándor Szokolay’s works for orchestra, choir and chamber music were published by Editio Musica Budapest, and his compositions also constitute an important part of EMB’s educational publications.
Kurtág concert and ceremonial presentation of the RPS Gold Medal in London
December 7, 2013
The chairman of the Royal Philharmonic Society, John Gilhooly, described the concert given by György and Márta Kurtág in London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall on 1 December as a significant event in music history. In the first half of the recital Hiromi Kikuchi performed the eight-movement Hipartita for solo violin, which the composer had dedicated to the musician. After the interval, György and Márta Kurtág played a selection of solo and four-handed pieces from Games and Kurtág’s Bach transcriptions. Compositions which had originally been written as a homage, gift or message in sounds to colleagues and friends featured significantly in the ‘composed ’ programme that was performed without intermission. The Kurtágs played on an upright piano with the ‘quiet’ pedal always depressed. The instrument’s sound was amplified only to the extent that in the jam-packed hall accommodating 900 people everyone would feel the intensity of the soft sounds and could enter the magic world revealed by the playing of the two exceptional musicians. Their performance and the encore, a four-handed Schumann piece, received a standing ovation.
At the end of the concert György Kurtág was presented with the Gold Medal of the Royal Philharmonic Society, its highest honour which has been awarded to the most significant composers and performers of the music world for 143 years, ever since the centenary of Beethoven’s birth. From the time the society was founded contemporary music has been given distinguished attention, due to which numerous significant works were commissioned by the RPS, including Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. Earlier gold medallists include Brahms, Britten, Sibelius, Walton, Prokofiev, Rachmaninov, Richard Strauss, Stravinsky, Messiaen, Lutosławski and György Ligeti. On receiving the medal, Kurtág responded with music after some brief words of thanks for the award. He and Márta played Mozart’s four-handed Variations in G major (K. 501) which the audience again received with an ovation.
Kurtág's music at the gala concert of the Berlin Philharmonic
October 17, 2013
The concert hall of the Berliner Philharmonic, designed by Hans Scharoun and noted for its unique architecture, opened 50 years ago. On 20 October the anniversary is being celebrated by a gala concert
with a programme that features compositions filling musical space in a special way.
Besides the famous “space music” of Giovanni Gabrieli, Beethoven, Vaughan Williams and Berlioz, as well as a new work written specifically for the occasion by Wolfgang Rihm, György Kurtág’s piano concerto …quasi una fantasia … op. 27. no.1 is being presented by the musicians of a chamber orchestra accompanying the piano whose members are spatially distributed in the hall. The soloist of the evening is Mitsuko Uchida, and the Berlin Philharmonic is being conducted by Sir Simon Rattle.
Zoltán Jeney - portrait concerts in Sweden
October 17, 2013
This year the 23rd Ny Musik Festival
in Boras is saluting the 70-year-old Zoltán Jeney with two concerts.
On 7 November the composer will play his piano pieces (Endgame; Movements of the Eye; maunderin tongue in a pounderin jowl), while on 10 November Something Round and Something Like composed for 25 strings, Something Lost (for prepared piano) and Something Found (piano, harmonium and chamber ensemble) from the series Something inspired by e. e. cummings’ poems will be presented. Both concerts are being held in the town’s 13th-century Caroli church.
Kocsár, Láng, Dubrovay, Jeney - Anniversaries and Premieres - Budapest Music of Our Age, 2013
September 16, 2013
The programme of the Budapest Music of Our Age Festival, being held for the 39th time this year, focuses on anniversaries of Polish and Hungarian composers. Besides works by Witold Lutosławski, born a century ago, and György Ligeti born 90 years ago, compositions by Krzysztof Penderecki and Henryk Górecki, who are celebrating their 80th birthdays this year, the 80-year-old Miklós Kocsár and István Láng, as well as the 70-year-old László Dubrovay and Zoltán Jeney, are being presented either for the first time in Hungary or in the world. The concert of the Qaartsiluni Ensemble and the Rondino Chamber Orchestra will be devoted to György Ligeti’s works and compositions dedicated to him. Former and new choir work by Miklós Kocsár will be performed by the Angelica Girls’ Choir, and István Láng’s compositions will be heard at the concert of the EAR Ensemble. László Dubrovay is being celebrated with a full orchestral evening. The MÁV Symphony Orchestra will perform his Spring Symphony
and Violin Concerto No. 2
, which has recently been published by Editio Musica Budapest. Zoltán Jeney’s special composer’s evening comprises solo and chamber pieces which he dedicated to individuals and fellow composers who had a determining influence on his career. Such are the Heraclitus Cycle
, based on poems by Dezső Tandori, Meditazione sur un tema di Petrassi
for piano and Farewell to György Ligeti
, composed for the cimbalom. The concert will also include the premiere of his recently completed Agony
song cycle created for György Petri’s poems.
Concerts for the 100th Anniversary of Gyula Dávid
May 4, 2013
Gyula Dávid, one of the most important representatives of the generation following Bartók and Kodály, was born on the 6th of May 1913. His versatile oeuvre – a significant part of it published by Editio Musica Budapest - was a great success after the 2nd World War. His Viola Concerto is still often played. The centenary of his birth gives us the opportunity to rediscover his music that got less attention in the past 36 years since his death. His works will be played on the 2nd of May at the Old Academy of Music, the 5th of May at the FUGA Architectural Centre, on the 9th at Óbudai Társaskör. On the 4th of May, he will be remembered through an exhibition at the Community Centre of Visegrád.
FUGA Budapest Center of Architecture, 5 May - Program
Academic music conference in honour of Zoltán Jeney's 70th birthday
March 12, 2013
The Hungarian Academy of Sciences Research Centre for the Humanities Institute for Musicology is organizing a conference on March 14th, 2013, to mark Zoltán Jeney’s 70th birthday. From 10 a.m. lectures will be given by Sándor Kovács, Szabolcs Molnár, Anna Dalos, Tünde Szitha, Balázs Déri and Zoltán Farkas on the composer’s works and the history of the New Music Studio. From 2.30 p.m. the conference will close with a concert featuring a selection of Zoltán Jeney’s chamber music works.
Invitation and detailed programme
Viola Works by Kurtág and Ligeti on Kim Kashkashian's Grammy awarded CD
February 15, 2013
Kim Kashkashian won the Grammy Award for Best Classical Instrumental Solo with her Kurtág/Ligeti album titled Music for Viola
The american-armenian viola master has devoted herself principally to the Hungarian composer György Kurtág's works for the last twenty years. As Joshua Kosman wrote: „It's a terrific pairing of two linked but complementary sensibilities, matching Kurtág's terse, aphoristic style with Ligeti's more expansive and playful creative personality."
We are proud to be the publisher of the celebrated contemporary composer György Kurtág's ouvre including the collection entitled "Signes, Games and Messages for Viola" performed on the Grammy awarded CD.
György Kurtág's Wihuri Sibelius Prize
October 17, 2012
This year the Finnish Wihuri Foundation has awarded to György Kurtág the prize for composition established in 1953 and first awarded to Jean Sibelius, after whom it was later named. The prestige of this distinction is demonstrated by the list of the recipients over the last six decades: Jean Sibelius; Paul Hindemith; Dmitrij Shostakovich; Igor Stravinsky; Benjamin Britten; Erik Bergman, Usko Meriläinen and Einojuhani Rautavaara; Olivier Messiaen; Witold Lutoslawski; Joonas Kokkonen; Krzysztof Penderecki; Aulis Sallinen; Ligeti György; Magnus Lindberg; Per Nørgård; Kaija Saariaho. The foundation’s prize for science was awarded this year to the internationally well-known Finnish researcher in bioeconomics, Merja Pentttilä.
The festive award ceremony took place on October 9, 2012 in the Finlandia Hall, where among other works György Kurtág’s Four Akhmatova Poems was performed by the Finnish Avanti! Ensemble, featuring Anu Komsi and conducted by Olivier Cuendet.
Chamber opera workshop for composers on Sławomir Mrożek’s play entitled ‘Out at Sea’
October 17, 2012
A Chamber Opera Workshop is being organized for young composers by the Peter Eötvös Contemporary Music Foundation in 2013 to produce a jointly created opera on Sławomir Mrożek’s absurd one-act play entitled ‘Out at Sea’, which unites and addresses the predominant phenomena of the modern age (alienation, abuse of power, conformity and the question of the boundaries of freedom) in one grotesque situation, and in which the problem of part-whole relations is reflected in the possibilities of form and technique.
In April 2013 the applicants will take part in a four-day workshop where the teamwork – supervised and guided by Péter Eötvös and Luca Francesconi – will consist of discussing and deciding among the special potential options offered by the libretto, dramaturgy and composition technique. The chamber opera is to be composed for three singers and four instruments to accompany them. Without any alteration in the libretto based on Mrożek’s play written by András Almási-Tóth, each character will be created by a different
composer in accordance with the agreements reached during the workshop. After approximately one month of independent work and ongoing consultation with the assistant professor Balázs Horváth, the composition drafts have to be submitted. In May, after reviewing these materials the professors will select six composers who are to finish their compositions by the end of August 2013.
The final scores will be published by Editio Musica Budapest. The premiere will be held on December 19, 2013 in the concert hall of the new Budapest Music Center building under the direction of Péter Eötvös and conducted by Hsiao-Lin Liao. The opera will be performed in several other European cities including Paris, Milan, Brussels and Riga in the course of 2014. The workshop and the performances will be supported by the Art Mentor Foundation Lucerne and the Ulysses Network.
Four hand piano recital of Márta and György Kurtág in Paris
October 5, 2012
One of the peak point of the Bach-Kurtág Festival at Cité de la Musique was the recital where a selection of earlier and brand new solo and four-hands movements was performed from Kurtág's Játékok cycle and of his own Bach transcriptions. The video-recordig of the concert is avilable at the website of Cité de la Musique until 22 january, 2013
BACH/KURTÁG - GYÖRGY KURTÁG, LE JEU DE LA MUSIQUE - Concerts, conference and master course in Paris
September 2, 2012
In György Kurtág’s works tradition is not just processed or incorporated experience, but much more than that: constant inspiration, often acknowledged even in the titles, that together with his individual voice and personality has already made his music a classical example of contemporary music.
Between September 19th and 26th a week of concerts and musicology lectures in the Cité de la Musique, Paris, will offer an insight primarily into the links between Kurtág’s music and that of Bach, but in the background of this portrait the faces of Schumann, Webern and Bartók will also appear. In addition to concerts by the Ensemble Intercontemporain, the Keller String Quartet, the Wiener Klaviertrio and Pierre-Laurent Aimard the festival will also be given distinction by the personal presence of the composer. Together with his wife Márta he will play a selection of solo and four-hands movements from his Játékok and his own Bach transcriptions, and he will hold a master course in which he will teach Beethoven and Bartók string quartets to young musicians.
Hungarian chamber music at Kempten in Germany
September 2, 2012
This autumn László Tihanyi is the composer in residence at the 7. Kempten Internationales Festival der Kammermusik. In the framework of the week-long series of concerts four of his works will be performed, including the première of Rundherum
, for piano and string quartet, commissioned by the festival. The title refers to the arrangement on the platform of the instruments and music stands, and to the movement of the players. Tihanyi, few of whose works have so far been composed for traditional chamber music groups, has not written a classical-romantic type of piano quintet this time either. In it the pianist and the members of the string quartet also play on percussion instruments and mouth organs.
At Kempten every year the focus is on a different country’s chamber music; mainly 20th-century and contemporary works are played, or curiosities from earlier periods. This year there is a rich selection of Hungarian works: through compositions by 22 composers – including Liszt, Bartók, Kodály, Dohnányi, Leó Weiner, Mátyás Seiber, Ferenc Farkas, György Ránki, György Kurtág, György Ligeti, György Orbán, Miklós Kocsár, Péter Eötvös, Zoltán Jeney, László Tihanyi and others – the traditions and modern forms of Hungarian chamber music will be displayed.
Zwiegespräch in new orchestral version, world premiere in Budapest
May 5, 2012
"We have been working on it for eight years and perhaps we will never finish. The aim is, after all, to continue the dialogue between us." So wrote György Kurtág, Jr. on his and his father's joint composition Zwiegespräch in 2007. This piece, originally composed for string quartet and synthesizer, represents an extraordinary cooperation: a dialogue between two different artists, two generations and also between the sounds of tradition and new technologies.
After rearranging the quartet parts for chamber ensemble in 2011 (this version was performed several times by the Ensemble baBel and György Kurtág, Jr.) the Swiss conductor OLIVIER CUENDET created an orchestral version with four movements. This brand new version, comprised of Tears, Love Song, Müezzin and Solace, will be premiered by the MÁV Symphony Orchestra and György Kurtág, Jr. conducted by Gábor Takács-Nagy on May 16 in Budapest.
Two Imaginary Dialogues - World premiere for László Tihanyi in Moscow
January 27, 2012
The ninth and last concert of the project "Europe through the eyes of Russians. Russia through the eyes of Europeans" (organized by the Centre of Contemporary Music, Moscow Conservatory) is dedicated to the musical connections of Russia and Hungary. Along with earlier solo and chamber works by Denisov, Ustvolskaya, Bartók, Ligeti and Kurtág, new commissioned compositions by Nikolay Khrust and by László Tihanyi are to be premiered at Rachmaninov Hall on February 9. Tihanyi's recently finished Two imaginary dialogues for chamber ensemble will be performed by Ensemble New Music Studio Moscow conducted by Igor Dronov.
When Mr. Tarnopolski, the head of the New Music Studio Moscow, asked me to participate in this project" - says Tihanyi - "it made me meditate on my relationship to Russian culture. I realised that not only Russian music is very important for me but also Russian literature, fine arts and film. I decided to write a piece which is based on imaginary dialogs with two extraordinary directors: Eisenstein and Tarkovsky. I tried to express my reactions to their visions of the world in music and find my possible connections with them."
United States premiere for Kamilló Lendvay
January 5, 2012
Passport to Hungary is the title of the program to be performed three times in Chapel Hill and in Raleigh by the North Carolina Symphony Orchestra (conducted by SARAH HICKS) on 12th-14th January. The concerts are focused on compositions inspired by Hungarian folk music. Along with works by Kodály, Bartók and Ravel, Kamilló Lendvay's Concerto semplice for cimbalom and orchestra will have its US Premiere by PETRA BERÉNYI, who currently lives in Raleigh and is a devoted performer of contemporary cimbalom repertoire. The traditional Hungarian hammered dulcimer occupies an important place in the oeuvre of the 83-year-old composer - he uses cimbalom several times in his solo and chamber works and in his concertos as well.
KURTÁG - United States premiere at Monday Evening Concerts, Los Angeles
November 29, 2011
… pas a pas … nulle part, op.36 written to the text of Samuel Beckett will be performed at Zipper Concert Hall at Colburn School on December 5. The day before a documentary film on the life and work of György Kurtág will be presented than followed by discussion with bass-baritone Nicholas Isherwood and a live performance of Kurtág's Hölderlin Lieder.
Beckett’s texts have been important sources of inspiration for the 85 years old composer from the beginning of the 90s. … pas a pas … was finished in 1998. His “work in progress” opera is also based on a Beckett’s play, on Fin de partie.
... sospiri, gemiti ...; ... gemiti, sospiri ...; Ombres - Premieres for Kurtág at FUGA
November 28, 2011
Three short pieces for viola da gamba will be premiered by Nóra Kallai at FUGA Budapest Center of Architecture on 4th December. The pieces dedicated to professor Joël Dehais were composed in 2008 and 2011.
The programme gives a selection of contemporary repertoire of the viola da gamba: besides works by Kurtág, László Sáry and András Soós will be performed brand new solo and chamber pieces by young Hungarian composers – Dániel Váczi, Péter Tornyai, Péter Zombola, Xénia Stollár and Georgi Sztojanov.
Centre and Periphery, Roots and Exile
November 27, 2011
This book examines the impact place and displacement can have on the composition and interpretation of Western art music, using as its primary objects of study the work of István ANHALT (1919–) GYÖRGY KURTÁG (1926–) and SÁNDOR VERESS (1907–92). Although all three composers are of Hungarian origin, their careers followed radically different paths. Whereas, Kurtág remained in Budapest for most of his career, Anhalt and Veress left: the former in 1946 and immigrated to Canada and the latter in 1948 and settled in Switzerland. All three composers have had an extraordinary impact in the cultural environments within which their work took place.
World premiere for Kurtág in Geneva - Brefs Messages op. 47
October 20, 2011
György Kurtág’s recently finished work for nine instruments is performed by Ensemble Contrechamps on the 1st November together with the string quartet Officium breve in memoriam Andeae Szervánszky and works by Sándor Veress and the Swiss composer Roland Moser. The Brefs Messages op. 47 was commissioned by Contrechamps and dedicated to this ensemble and the conductor of the premiere Olivier Cuendet. Its first movement (Fanfare) is written directly to Cuendet, the second one (Versetto: Temptavit Deus Abraham - apokrif organum) is dedicated to the Hungarian musicologist László Dobszay. As often in Kurtág’s practice the third and fourth movements are scored version of earlier instrumental pieces: the former one (Ligatura Y) is originally a part of Games for piano, the latter one (Bornemisza: Az hit …) comes from the Sayings of Péter Bornemisza op. 7. The composition has been still opened as Kurtág plans to add more movements further on.
GAMES and ZWIEGESPRÄCH in new instrumentation
September 24, 2011
On 21 October the Ensemble Babel Lausanne will perform works by György Kurtág and György Kurtág Jr. in Budapest. The title of the program is “Found and invented objects” which is a reference to the core of Kurtag’s art that is the inspirations of the material and auditory world around us as well as of the canon of music.
Also, the concert is the cooperation of the two rather different artists, father and son, which resulted in a piece composed as a joint work for string-quartet and synthesizer called the Zwiegespräch. This is how Kurtag Jr. reflected upon the birth of this piece in 2007:
While working on it, I realised how differently my father and I think. The fact that we do not hear the same thing initially caused misunderstandings, but when we realised it, we were able to ask one another: what do you hear?
It is impossible to unravel who has done what in this piece, which changes from performance to performance: today there isn’t one note in common with those played at the first concert. We have been working on it for eight years, and perhaps we will never finish. The aim is, after all, to continue the dialogue between us.
At the Budapest concert there is another composer joining the Kurtágs, so the Games – originally composed for piano - and the Zwiegespräch will be performed by a chamber orchestra in the instrumentation of Olivier Cuendet, the Art Director of Ensemble Babel.
Three questions for sixty-five composers
September 23, 2011
The Hungarian born author, Bálint András Varga, who is a well known promotion manager in the contemporary musical world revised and republished his book twenty five years after the first Hungarian edition.
His three questions - related to the inspirations and the formation of one’s own personal style - were raised with the most important composers of the late twentieth century and of the last decade. Not only Boulez, Cage, Ligeti, Reich, Stockhausen and Wolff but several UMPC composers like Berio, Nono, Eötvös, Kurtág, Petrassi, Szőllősy, Xenakis provided their answers as well.
The English language edition was published by the University of Rochester Press and praised among others by Sir Simon Rattle: “Typical of Bálint András Varga , the most civilized intelligent of publishers, to elicit such multiplicity of responses to three deceptively simple questions. Necessary reading for all who care about the music of our time.”
Balázs Horváth’s Faust Groteske - First Austrian performance at Musikprotokoll Graz
September 23, 2011
Five compositions will be performed by the Vienna ORF Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Péter Eötvös on 8 October. The program is on the one hand dedicated to Ferenc Liszt who was born 200 years ago and on the other hand presents the prize winners of the Gustav Mahler Composition Competition and the Hungarian Music Forum.
Balázs Horváth’s Faust Groteske received 1st Prize in the full orchestra category of the competition in Budapest in 2011 February. Its four movements represent the distorted faces of the main characters of Eine Faust-Symphonie by Ferenc Liszt.
World premiere for László Vidovszky - Reverb in Weimar
August 1, 2011
PIERRE-LAURENT AIMARD and KLANGFORUM WIEN perform László Vidovszky's Reverb on 27 August in the program of Kunstfest Weimar. The work for piano and string quartet was comissioned as a part of the project „Visions" - a hommage to Franz Liszt.
Celebrating Liszt's 200th birthday Kunstfest Weimar comissioned seven new compositions by composers representing the seven most important countries in Liszt's life and work: Switzerland, France, Germany, Italy, Hungary, Austria and Russia.
“Zeichen, Spiele, Botschaften” – Kurtág portrait concerts in the programme of the Schwetzingen Festival
April 21, 2011
Between May 19th and 21st, solo and chamber works by György Kurtág will be performed at five concerts in Schwetzingen Castle near Heidelberg, which has for six decades traditionally provided a venue for early and modern music. Featuring in the programme are the string and wind movements of Signs, Games and Messages; the Messages of the Late R.V. Troussova; the Twelve Microludien; the Officium breve in memoriam Andreae Szervánszky; the Kafka-Fragmente; excerpts from the Series of Games written for piano; and Hommage à Robert Schumann, together with chamber works by Schönberg, Bach, Beethoven, Mozart and Schumann – emphasizing the close relationship between the art of Kurtág and classical chamber music. Kurtág’s music will be interpreted by the most outstanding performers of the composer’s works, including Juliane Banse, András Keller, Tabea Zimmermann, Heinz Holliger, Jörg Widmann, Dénes Várjon, the Collegium Novum Zürich and the Hagen Quartet.
Divergent by Balázs Horváth at Zagreb Biennale - ISCM World Music Days
April 4, 2011
Balázs Horváth’s Divergent for trumpet and big band is performed by Croatian Radio Television Big Band conducted by Saša Nestorović on
13 April, organised by ISCM World New Music Days and Zagreb Biennale.
THReNSeMBle at the Gaudeamus Competition
April 4, 2011
THReNSeMBle (Artistic leader: Balázs Horváth) will participate at the Gaudeamus Interpreters Competition in Amsterdam. Beside the works of Franco Donatoni, Theo Lovendie, Pierre Boulez and Yannis Kyriakides will be played Péter Tornyai’s Abfall-Musik, Zoltán Jeney’s Self-quotations, Balázs Horváth’s Waiting for... and László Tihanyi’s Summer Music.
The program of the competition is also performed in Budapest on 31 March and 4 April.
György Kurtág celebrated in Neue Zeitschrift für Musik
April 4, 2011
The recent issue of Neue Zeitschrift für Musik (2011/2) is devoted to the music of György Kurtág celebrating his 85th birthday with articles and studies by Gösta Neuwirth, Rainer Nonnenmann, Hartmut Lück, Stefan Drees and Philipp Brüllmann.
Festive concerts in Budapest in honour of György Kurtág’s 85th birthday
March 4, 2011
To celebrate György Kurtág’s 85th birthday a gala concert was held on February 20th in Budapest, in the Palace of Arts. The concert programme included both chamber music and orchestral works: Four Akhmatova Poems and Messages of the late Miss R. V. Troussova were performed by Natalia Zagorinskaya and the UMZE Ensemble conducted by Péter Eötvös; Grabstein für Stefan, Op.27No.2 (Double Concerto) and Stele were played by the Concerto Budapest Orchestra conducted by András Keller. The soloists in the orchestral works were Elena Casoli (guitar), Gábor Csalog (piano) and Nicolas Altstaedt (cello).
Before this concert Gábor Csalog – a former pupil of Kurtág, and one of the most authentic performers of his piano works – with his own pupils and the Ludium chamber ensemble had performed extracts from Games and the series Signs, Games, Messages and from Kurtág’s most recently completed works for piano.
New Hungarian Music Forum 2011 - Composers Competition
February 1, 2011
At a press conference on January 20th the results of the first round of the 2011 New Hungarian Music Forum were announced. Eight works ( four chamber and four orchestral pieces) by seven young Hungarian composers (Marcell DARGAY, Balázs HORVÁTH, László SÁNDOR, Péter TORNYAI, Árpád SOLTI, Judit VARGA and Ákos ZARÁNDY) reached the final, which will take the form of a public gala concert to be given on February 8th, 2011 in the Palace of Arts, Budapest. The chamber works will be presented by the UMZE Chamber Ensemble, and the orchestral pieces by the Concerto Budapest Orchestra conducted by Zoltán Rácz and András Keller. There and then the jury will decide on and announce the order of the prizes.
The competition is organized by the BUDAPEST MUSIC CENTER and the PALACE OF ARTS, with the support of the Hungarofest Klassz Zenei Iroda. The organizers wish to pay tribute this year to Ferenc Liszt, who was born 200 years ago; they therefore required the composers to submit works with themes inspired by Liszt's art.
The three prizes in each of the two categories, works for orchestra and for chamber ensemble respectively, have been donated by the Hungarian Intellectual Property Office. As an additional prize, Editio Musica Budapest has undertaken to publish the eight works presented in the final, and to promote them abroad; the Fidelio internet portal has offered valuable media space, and the Ferenc Liszt Music University will organize an individual evening concert featuring one of the finalists. The Budapest Music Center is going to issue as a promotional record the programme of the final, the gala concert.