Classical – Folk – Gypsy
Ferenc Liszt, Béla Bartók, Zoltán Kodály: Hungary’s world-renowned classical composers.
Budapest has long been a hub for musicians with the likes of Beethoven who gave a concert in the Castle District; Haydn, who conducted many concerts in the city; Wagner conducted a concert in the Vigadó; Mahler was the resident conductor at the Opera House, and Puccini came to supervise the production of his opera Madame Butterfly; Brahms came to give the first performance of his second piano concerto; Benjamin Britten was here in the 1960s, as was Leonard Bernstein.
Many internationally-renowned performers and conductors originated from this small country: Georg Solti, Eugene Ormandy, George Szell, Tamás Vásáry, Antal Doráti, Georges Cziffra, András Schiff… to name but a few. Most of them studied at the Liszt Academy.
The Liszt Ferenc Music Academy has been a major concert venue since it opened in 1907. The building recently underwent complete renovation to restore it to its original stunning splendour (the main concert hall is pictured above).
This building was erected to house the ever-growing number of students attending the Old Liszt Academy, which had been opened in 1879. It was here that Liszt had a flat which is now open to the public and contains many of his personal possessions alongside his pianos and a small museum with scores etc.
We can offer a guided tour of the flat and museum; it also possible to attend concerts at both the Old Academy and the Liszt Academy.
SPECIAL OPPORTUNITY: English musicologist and Liszt specialist can give a guided tour of the Liszt museum and talk about this period in music.
The Bartók Memorial House is in the leafy residential area of Buda which is, however, easy to access by public transport.
The building houses both manuscripts and the personal effects of the composer, while it also hosts regular recitals and concerts both indoors and in a specially-constructed ‘theatron’ in the garden.
Kodály lived in a flat overlooking a square (Kodály Circus) that bears his name. The museum housed here can be visited – it contains manuscripts as well as the composer’s personal belongings.
The so-called Kodály method of teaching singing became an international movement and students come from all areas of the world to study at undergraduate and postgraduate levels at the at the International Kodaly Institute in the town of Kecskemét.
SPECIAL OPPORTUNITY: We can arrange a lesson in the Kodály method for your students with one of the institute’s specialist teachers.
Aside from its stunning Opera House – which can be toured – Budapest has a wealth of concert halls and music venues with many concerts every day of the week to choose from.
The concert season runs from September through to the end of June, though there are open-air concerts and other performances even in the summer months. The annual Spring Arts Festival offers a rich programme comprising concerts featuring international and Hungarian musicians, as well as numerous dance performances, exhibitions and theatre pieces.
Below are pictures of just some of the main concert venues in the city:
Museum of Music History
The Museum of Music History is located in the Castle District of Buda. It contains the archives of manuscripts of Bartók as well as an exhibition of musical instruments with a violin-making workshop and musical instruments of Hungary. There are also regular concerts given in the institute. (More instruments can be found in the Hungarian National Museum.)
Concerts of folk music are less regular than those of classical music, however, there are festivals of folk music and performances are often given in conjunction with folk dancing (see under Folk in Itineraries). If you let us know the dates of your visit, we can find what folk music is on at that time.
There are two kinds of gypsy music – the mainstream style which is readily available to experience in one of the many restaurants in Budapest, and the gypsy-folk style. There are a number of gypsy-folk bands which give concerts – we can let you know what is available at the time of your trip.