For six years, I received the most significant part of my formal musical education at the Liszt Academy.

Sir Georg Solti

This year's Bartók World Competition begins with violinists from 16 countries

4 September 2023

After the order of appearance for the entrants was determined, the 2023 Bartók World Competition for Violinists at the Liszt Academy of Music, with a total prize fund of 46,000 euros, began on 3 September with the preliminaries and will end on 10 September with the award ceremony and gala, bringing together 32 young talents from 16 countries.

In conformity with the tradition of the Liszt Academy's competitions, the youngest entrant, 15-year-old Gáspár Kelemen, drew the name of the first performer, Zhang Xunyue from China. The others will follow in alphabetical order, and the order will remain the same throughout the competition. There will be 7 Japanese, 3 Hungarian and 3 Russian, 2 Korean, Czech, Spanish, Italian, Chinese and UK nationals, and one each from Romania, Turkey, Sweden, Germany, Moldova, France and the United States.

The competition is accessible to the public: entry to the preliminaries and the semi-finals is free of charge, while tickets for the finals and the gala awards concert are available at a reduced price on the Liszt Academy website and at its ticket office.

" As one of the world’s leading music universities, nurturing talent is our most important mission, and as Bartók’s alma mater, we are committed to tending to his legacy” -  said Rector Dr Andrea Vigh in her opening speech. She recalled that the international competition, which is held in six-year cycles, consists of interlinked competitions alternating between contests for instrumentalists and composers, and thanked the Hungarian state for its support.

The compulsory repertoire includes the most important works for violin by Bartók and Bach, and in addition to these, the contestants must choose either the first or the second prize-winning work from last year's round for composers: a piece by the Serbian Veljko Nenadić entitled Impromptu and Perpetuum Mobile or a piece by Kornél Thomas entitled Fun-tasto: Reflection and Exhilaration. Other works available for selection include works by Paganini, Ravel, Saint-Saëns, Schubert, Mozart, Beethoven, Prokofiev, Brahms, Debussy, Lutoslawski and Stravinsky, among others. In the finals, the competitors will perform one of Bartók's Violin Concertos Nos. 1 and 2, Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto in E minor, Beethoven's, Brahms' and Tchaikovsky's Violin Concertos in D major and Sibelius' Violin Concerto in D minor, accompanied by the Hungarian Radio Symphony Orchestra under the baton of János Kovács.

Almost one hundred young violinists from twenty-six countries entered for the competition's qualifying round, and these outstanding figures are testimony to the international prestige and appeal of the Bartók World Competition. The highly demanding repertoire requires a wide range of skills, and Bartók's music is a major additional challenge, yet many talented youngsters are willing to put themselve to  the test.

This year's prestigious international jury for the live rounds will be chaired by American violinist Daniel Phillips, a teacher at The Juilliard School in New York, and will include German violinist Stephan Picard, a teacher at the Hanns Eisler Conservatory in Berlin, Hungary-based Ukrainian-British violist-conductor Maxim Rysanov, French violinist Roland Daugareil, professor at the Paris Conservatoire and first violinist of the Orchestre de Paris until 2021, and Japanese violinist Yayoi Toda. On the Hungarian side, Kristóf Baráti, Kossuth Prize-winning violinist and Head of the String Department at the Liszt Academy of Music, Gyula Fekete, Erkel and Bartók-Pásztory Prize-winning composer and Vice-Rector and Head of the Department of Composition at the University, Péter Halász, conductor and music director of the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Düsseldorf, and András Keller, Kossuth Prize-winning violinist-conductor and music director of Concerto Budapest, are also members of the jury.

The first prize is €22,000, the second €14,000, the third €8,000, and the best performance of a contemporary work is rewarded with  €2000. Special prizes, including performance opportunities, may also be awarded by the jury, thanks to donations from collaborating partners.

Having completed its first six-year cycle of competitions with last year's round for composers, the Bartók World Competition is entering a new chapter in 2023, and this year, as in 2017, the Liszt Academy is organizing a new round for violinists.

Further information can be found at https://bartokworldcompetition.hu/hegedu.