Six decades at the forefront of classical music – it’s not an easy task to maintain that position, but whether we are talking about an artistic field or not, the recipe is no different from that focusing on branded products: to preserve the reputation and traditions built with the utmost humility, constantly keeping an eye on changes and new trends. And the best way of combining traditions and openness is to combine them with the high professional standards that the orchestra is known for.
Concertmaster Péter Tfirst summarised the most important events and plans of the festive year, as well as the annual programme put together with world-famous cellist-artistic director István Várdai on the year’s first rehearsal:
“We are facing serious challenges in 2023 and we are expecting a difficult but beautiful year. We certainly hope that beyond the beauty of classical music, we will be able to show our ever-growing fan base of music lovers at home and in Europe and America once again the individual sound, together with the sensitive and sophisticated instrumental playing that makes our concerts worth choosing from the rich offerings. In the first quarter we are concentrating mainly on the capital, if I am not mistaken, we will deliver 8 concerts in the most prestigious venues, performing selections from all segments of our repertoire. For our first performance on 16 January, we are practising with Emmanuel Pahud, the world’s best-known flutist and one of our favourite soloists. We are planning to fill the Great Hall of the Liszt Academy with works of Schumann, Mendelssohn and César Franck, some of them in a string orchestra arrangement available in Budapest for the first time.
Not even a whole week shall pass before our next concert, on the 22nd, the Day of Hungarian Culture, we will be guests of the Carmelite concert series in the Buda Castle. We will be performing works of Weiner, Erkel, Mendelssohn and Hubay, with violin soloist Júlia Pusker.
We will return to the Liszt Academy then, where the first concert of our LFKZ60 season ticket will take place on 4 February, hopefully evolving into an internationally acclaimed performance. Our guest for the night, Amihai Grosz is a featured soloist of the Berlin Philharmonic, similarly to Pahud. Before the Budapest concert, Amihai will be in Tokyo, where he will be playing Bartók’s Viola Concerto with the NHK Orchestra in the Suntory Hall. As part of our jubilee compilation, he will perform Martinu’s Rhapsody-Concerto with us, ahead of Berlin, where the masterpiece will be performed later.
As usual, we will also take part in the Franz Liszt Academy’s Musical Talent Day in February, contributing to the early career of young musicians with two joint concerts. Finally, at the end of the month, we will make up for an earlier cancelled autumn programme, presenting our Musical journey across three continents at the Budapest Music Center on 24th, with a selection of the latest audience favourites.
And so we arrive at the highlight of spring, our birthday sensation. The celebrations will truly begin on 13 March in Müpa Budapest’s Béla Bartók National Concert Hall. The programme is genuinely exciting: German-born British composer Max Richter’s idea of reinterpreting Vivaldi’s Four Seasons using 21st-century musical tools to give the Baroque work an exciting new interpretation has been greeted with standing ovation around the world. Keeping our previous successful collaboration in mind, we have invited artists of the Győr Ballet to join us in the hope that can have an even more elemental effect by amplifying the sound, lights and dance. After the break, we will be “left to our own devices” on the stage once more, performing Beethoven’s String Quartet, one of the most technically challenging and demanding pieces of outstanding artistic quality, in a string orchestra version. The night will close with the glittering music of the Viennese Classical period, bidding farewell to a new generation of music lovers and loyal audience members for decades. Nevertheless, no celebrations can be complete without the contribution of our world-renowned artistic director István Várdai; his intense and suggestive performance will surely bring the Kraft Cello Concerto to life.
On 25 March, we will conclude the first quarter of our rich Budapest series, celebrating Bartók’s birthday with a public live concert broadcast in collaboration with Bartók Radio.
This will be followed by a short tour of Spain, and on 6 April we will perform at the Musikverein in Vienna, the musical capital of Central Europe.
Our LFKZ60 concert in April will once again feature a world star, clarinettist Martin Fröst, and will present a romantic and atmospheric show at the Liszt Academy. The final concert of the series, in May, will feature Bogdan Volkov (voice) and Alexander Sitkovetsky (violin), paying tribute to the musical greatness of László Dubrovay, Britten and Tchaikovsky.
Our international festival programme for the summer and early autumn promises to be rather busy: first we will perform in Portugal, followed by the Varna Festival, and Koblenz in the end. In the beginning of September, we will travel to the Enescu Festival, followed by performances in Germany.
In October, we have plans for concerts in Italy and South America, while upon our return, we will open our new concert season in Budapest with István Várdai on 25 October, the now traditional date for the Academy of Music.
In addition to these highlights, we will continue with our Concert in the School series across the country, also planning to repeat our highly successful Let’s Play Together family programme in December, additionally preparing a new performance with the Bábozd Zöldre Association.
Our motto remains the same: with you, music is joy.