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135th birth year of Béla Bartók celebrated in The Hague with masterclasses and concerts

To celebrate the 135th birthday of the famous Hungarian composer Béla Bartók, the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest, Royal Conservatoire of The Hague, the Embassy of Hungary and the Peace Palace organized master classes, concerts and a unique lecture within one Béla Bartók Festival. The festival took place between Thursday 17 and Sunday 20 November.

The extensive program of masterclasses kicked off on Thursday, with a piano master class at the Royal Conservatoire. Kálmán Dráfi, piano professor at the Liszt Academy in Budapest, gave a lecture to students of the Conservatoire, focusing on repertoire of Bartók. On Thursday evening, László Vikárius, director of the Budapest Bartók Archives held a Library Lecture in the Peace Palace about Bartók’s view on peace and justice.

The lecture included live music by Bartók, performed by Kálmán Dráfi (piano), Rutger Jansen (piano), Éva Szalai (piano) and Katalin Kovács (mezzo soprano). The Peace Palace and the Liszt Academy are connected through the European Heritage Label.

The festival was concluded by two concerts. On Saturday 19 November, vocal music by Bartók and a new composition by Peter Vigh, were performed in the Schönbergzaal of the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague. Ambassador András Kocsis, Suzanne Konings, representative of the Royal Conservatoire and on behalf of the Liszt Academy professor László Nemes welcomed the concertgoers, among them high-level invitees. Bartók’s Suite op. 14 was performed by Rutger Jansen (piano), after which the Netherlands Mixed Youth Choir and Netherlands Female Youth Choir sang famous Bartók’s songs, under the direction of Wilma ten Wolde and the director of the Kodály Institute, László Nemes.

After Kálmán Dráfi played the ‘Rumanian Folk Dances’ by Bartók, Peter Vigh’s piece ‘And we are looking for the truth’ was performed by The Netherlands Female Youth Choir, Peter Vigh (saxophone), David Faber (cello) and Valentina Tóth (piano). ‘And we are looking for the truth’ was written for the 2016 edition of the Grachtenfestival, to commemorate the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and Freedom Fight.

On Sunday 20 November, piano music by Bartók was performed, together with Bartók’s famous trio contrast for violin, clarinet and piano. The performers included Kálmán Dráfi (piano), Joseph Puglia (violin), Jasper Grijpink (clarinet) and Ellen Corver (piano).

In the framework of the master classes and with the support of the Embassy of Hungary, the virtual exhibition “Mikrokozmos – An Introduction to the world of Béla Bartók” was presented to the interested audience.

About Béla Bartók
Béla Bartók (25 March 1881 – 26 September 1945) is considered one of the most important composers of the twentieth century. Bartók is, together with Zoltán Kodály, known for his transcriptions of Central European folk music and was one of the founders of ethnomusicology. He studied piano at the Liszt Academy and later became a piano teacher there.

Pictures by Embassy of Hungary and Wim Kersbergen

Source: Embassy of Hungary in the Netherlands