Taste is a negative thing. Genius affirms and always affirms.

Franz Liszt

Liszt Academy commemorates the centenary of György Ligeti’s birth

24 April 2023

On 29 April, chamber ensembles formed by students from music academies of Vienna, Hamburg, Stockholm and Budapest will perform new works by their students as well as one of Ligeti's last pieces, in the Grand Hall of Liszt Academy.

This year, the centenary of György Ligeti’s birth, one of the most influential Hungarian composers of the twentieth century, is commemorated around the world, and his alma mater, Liszt Academy is preparing several concerts to mark the occasion.

As part of an international collaboration with partner institutions in Vienna, Hamburg and Stockholm, students of these universities and of Liszt Academy will form chamber ensembles and perform one of the composer's last works, the Hamburg Concerto for solo horn and chamber ensemble (supervised by Gergely Dubóczky, with horn player and teacher at Liszt Academy Zoltán Szőke). In addition, new works by young composition and doctoral students from the four institutions will be performed: Slough by Zacharias Kärnekull Wolfe, Looking glass by Marta K. Kowalczuk, Textures by Noemi Haffner and Harmonium by Dániel Dobos. The concert pieces will be conducted by students from the mentioned universities.

"There were many important composers who lived and worked in the second half of the 20th century, and many good and valuable pieces of music were written, but Ligeti stands out among them, not only for his works but also for his influence on his contemporaries", says Gyula Fekete, Vice-President and Head of Composition Department at Liszt Academy about Ligeti, who was born 100 years ago.

As he points out, there are only a few composers who are known and praised on all five continents, whose works are regularly performed and whose compositional techniques are regularly referred to. He adds that Ligeti’s contemporaries and students praise his brilliant mind, his analytical, synthesising and insightful abilities and, of course, his musical sensitivity, creative power and imagination.

"He was an exceptional mind who showed sincere interest in discoveries and results of sciences seemingly remote from music. He himself was a musical explorer, converting the results of other disciplines into his own research and compositions. He declared that when his musical language had been adopted or imitated by others, he was already elsewhere, on new paths, if you like, ahead of everyone else", Mr. Fekete said.

As for the anniversary concert, he stresses: "How else can music academies mark this anniversary but by bringing together their students to perform one of his emblematic works and, following Ligeti's example, to create new and innovative works. The music academies that will pay tribute to Ligeti at the concert on 29 April are those where he taught and spent a significant part of his life," recalls Gyula Fekete.

Through the Erasmus+ Blended Intensive Programme, instrumentalists, conductors and composers from each of the music academies of Budapest, Vienna, Hamburg and Stockholm will meet in Budapest, and the gala evening will take place following a week of workshops and rehearsals.

You can find tickets by clicking here.