Hungary’s most celebrated conservatory, the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest, will join ten other elite musical institutions this summer in Beijing just prior to the Olympic Games for “Musicathlon: The Conservatory Music Festival.” Co-hosted by Beijing’s Central Conservatory of Music and the Yale University School of Music (U.S.A.), the international gathering of performers and master teachers will celebrate music and musicianship in the Olympic spirit. Concerts, lectures, and master classes will take place in various venues in Beijing from July 9 to July 24.
Conceived by Yale School of Music Dean Robert Blocker and President of Beijing Central Conservatory Cizhao Wang, “Musicathlon: The Conservatory Music Festival” will bring together students and faculty from the Shanghai Conservatory, Universität Mozarteum Salzburg, Sibelius Academy (Helsinki), Royal Academy of Music (London), Liszt Academy (Budapest), Korean National University of the Arts, Sydney Conservatorium, The Juilliard School (New York), and the Beethoven Institute at the University of Music and Performing Arts (Vienna), as well as the two host institutions.
At the festival, musicians from the Franz Liszt Academy will offer a full program of four concerts (three solo recitals and a joint concert , one master class, and a lecture all taking place on Thursday, July 17, and Friday, July 18. The concert programs feature music by Hungarian composers Franz Liszt, Béla Bartók, Zoltán Kodály, Ernő Dohnányi, and György Ligeti along with music by Beethoven, Prokofiev, Stravinsky, and several international contemporary composers. István Várdai, cello; Gábor Farkas and István Lajkó, piano; and László Tömösközi, percussion. Prof. András Batta, Director of the Academy, will lecture on the influence of Hungarian Folk Music on the Great Hungarian Composers.
About the Performers
Andás Batta, PhD, studied musicology and cello at the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music in Budapest, and since 1979 has taught the history of music there. From 1976 to 1996 he was responsible for numerous music broadcasts on Hungarian Broadcast and Television (Budapest) and ORF (Vienna). From 1996 until 2001, he worked as an editor for music publisher company Könemann (Cologne-Budapest), was the editor-in-chief and author of the great book “Opera: Composers, Works, Performers”. From 2002 until 2004 he was Head of the Department of Musicology and Vice President at the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music in Budapest and was named President of Liszt Academy in 2004, and was re-elected in 2008.
Gábor Farkas, piano, was born in a small town in Northern Hungary in 1981 and started his music studies at the age of five. He holds an MA degree in Piano Performance and Teaching and is currently a PhD student of the Liszt Academy, Budapest. In 1998, he was awarded with the first prize of the National Piano Competition (Békés-Tarhos, Hungary); in 2000 he was the winner of the Bartók Béla Piano Competition (Baden bei Wien) and received second prize in the Greta Erikson Piano Competition (Karlstad, Sweden). In 2003 he received the first prize in the Hungarian National Radio Piano Competition. Conductors he has worked with include Ádám Fischer, Zoltán Kocsis and Tamás Vásáry.
He has performed in the concert halls of Budapest, Vienna, Baden bei Wien, Berlin, Stuttgart, Strassbourg, Florence, Paris, Calgary, Sakata, Yuza and Tokyo. He was invited to prestigious international festivals, such as the Budapest Spring Festival, the International Piano Forum, Berlin and the Franz Liszt Festival organized in the Castle of Gödöllő, Hungary. He has participated in master classes with György Nádor, Ferenc Rados, Péter Frankl, Rolf Dieter Arens, Jan Wijn, Brigitte Engerer, and William Grant Nabore. He has received the Pro Europe and Franz Liszt scholarships in Budapest, and in 2001 he won the scholarship of the European Cultural Foundation, Strassbourg.
Born in 1982 in Budapest, Lajkó István, piano, was only 10 years old when he was already playing four-hand pieces at the first Japanese Hungarian Piano Reunion. He has won numerous national and international competitions, including the first Hungaroton Competition in 2000, the 2002 Andor Földes Piano Competition, and second prize in the Leó Weiner Chamber National Music Competition. He received the Bartók Prize in the 2004 Piano Master Class in Baden. The following year he received the Yamaha Scholarship by winning the Yamaha Competition, as well as the De Profundis Special Prize at the first Franz Liszt Piano Competition in Pécs. 2005 proved to be full of successes: Lajkó was invited to the second Rachmaninoff Piano Competition and Festival, and at the Carl Filtsch International Piano Competition he received the first prize as well as a special prize for composition. He won the first prize in the 2006 Leo Weiner National Chamber Music Festival, and last September he received third prize in the International Liszt-Bartók Piano Competition.
He has participated in various international festivals and master classes with professors such as Klára Körmendi, István Gulyás, István Lantos, Jenő Jandó, Balázs Szokolay, György Nádor, Márta Gulyás, Marián Lapšanský, Norma Fisher, Ferenc Rados, Sándor Falvai, Dmitri Bashkirov, Mikhail Voskresensky.
István Lajkó is presently a doctoral student of the Franz Liszt Academy of Music, where he studies with Sándor Falvai and Balázs Szokolay. He is pursuing his chamber music studies under János Devich and Márta Gulyás. He has twice received the Award of the Hungarian Republic.
Born in 1983, László Tömösközi started his percussion studies in 1990, following the example of his father. He pursued his studies under Aurél Holló and Zoltán Rácz, key members of the Amadinda Percussion Group. In 1999, he won second prize in the National Percussion Competition of Colleges. He is a founding member of the Mondo Quartet, which won the Ari Kupsus Artistic Scholarship in 2005 and the special prize of the Japanese Embassy at the International Percussion Quartet Competition (Luxembourg). He was one of the four Music Academy students to receive Citibank’s 2007 Citi Scholarship. He has participated in master classes with Robert van Sice, Leigh Howard Stevens, Gordon Stout, Momoko Kamiya, Katarzyna Mycka, Bogdan Bacanu and Emmanuel Séjourné, and in instrumental courses with Kim Kashkashian, György Kurtág, Zoltán Kocsis, and András Schiff. During his Music Academy studies, he had the opportunity to work with Zoltán Kocsis, Péter Eötvös, Steve Reich, Michael Jarrell, Bob Becker (Nexus), James Wood and Gordon Stout.
Tömösközi has performed at the Valley of Arts in Kapolcs and the Budapest Autumn Festival. He has played with the National Philharmonic Orchestra, Danubia Youth Symphonic Orchestra, and Weiner-Szász Chamber Symphony Orchestra. He has been a regular guest of the Amadinda Percussion Group, including performances at the Budapest Spring Festival, Bartók Seminar and Festival in Szombathely, Melos Ethos Festival in Bratislava, Schleswig-Holstein Festival, Milano Musica Festival, and BBC Proms. He participates in various theatre performances and has been an active teacher since he was 19. Tömösközi has recorded with Csaba Klenyán (Chamber Music with Clarinet) and the Amadinda Percussion Group (Collection of John Cage, Disc Five).
István Várdai was born in 1985 and has won both audience acclaim and several prestigious international prizes: in 2007 István took the third prize at the XIII International Tchaikovsky Competition (Moscow), a special prize from the International Tchaikovsky Charity Fund, first prize in the David Popper International Music Competition three times, an extra prize at the 2006 Emanuel Feuermann Cello Competition at the Kronberg Academy (Berlin), the Special Prize by Barenreiter Urtext at the ARD International Competition (Munich), and first prize in the 13th International Brahms Competition (Austria).
Since his début concert in 1998, Hague, The Netherlands, he performed in London, Florence, Kobe, Frankfurt, Moscow and Munich with great success. In 2006 he performed as partner-soloist of Jenő Jandó and Barnabás Kelemen with the Philharmonic Orchestra of Pécs, Hungary, conducted by Zsolt Hamar. That summer he was honored with the opportunity to perform with Radovan Vlatkovics (horn) at the International Music Festival in Santander, Spain.
Since 2004 István has studied at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music, Budapest under Professor László Mező, and since 2005 he has been a student of Professor Reinhard Latzko at the Music Academy of Vienna. He has participated in master classes with Natalia Gutman, Natalia Shakhovskaja and János Starker.