Elastic Chirping / Hajlékony ciripelés

One more day of rehearsals, then it is time for our concert with Ensemble Ulysses at the beautiful Royaumont. Talented young musicians from all over the world, and four composers from three countries make for a nice experience. Last year I have visited Royaumont Abbaye and Foundation for only one day, to hear and see the conducting masterclass of Peter Eötvös with pieces by Kurtág and Boulez. Now I have the pleasure to spend a week here with a busy rehearsal schedule focusing on new music. Check out the program here:
http://www.royaumont.com

After Royaumont, in the next two weeks I will be stopping by at Darmstadt, Germany, and an outdoor festival at Tiszató in Hungary. I will be doing a ‘Conduct Me’ session with the Armel Festival Orchestra. I will check back in here again in less than a month from Portland, OR.

Még egy nap intenzív próbákkal, aztán péntek este koncert az Ulysses Ensemble zenészeivel a gyönyörű Royaumont-ban. Tavaly csak egy napot voltam itt, akkor az Eötvös Péter féle karmesterkurzus zárókoncertjét hallgattam Kurtág és Boulez darabokkal. Idén egy hetet töltök itt a világ minden részéről jött fiatal és tehetséges zenészekkel, és 3 ország 4 zeneszerzőjének darabjaival. A fenti linken megtekinthető a program.
Régi épületek, új zene, gyönyörő nyári idő, remek ételek és francia vörösbor. Mi kellhet még? 🙂

Royaumont után beugrom még Darmstadtba, majd a Tiszatavi Fesztiválra, utóbbin az Armel Fesztivál zenekara élén a jól bevált és népszerű “Conduct Me!” programot csinálom. Kevesebb mint egy hónap múlva újra jelentkezem Portlandből.

Busy Season Finale / Sűrű szezonvég

The 2017-18 Season is coming to an end. Since I arrived to Budapest, Hungary after the last classical concert of the Huntsville Symphony season I have had an extremely busy schedule. A conducting-composition masterclass organized by the Peter Eötvös Contemporary Music Foundation took place at the Budapest Music Center. The musicians of the Danubia Symphony Orchestra were conducted by 7 young conductors in Karlheinz Stockhausen’s Punkte and Arnold Schoenberg’s Chambersymphony op.9. Thee new pieces were also premiered, two for string trio, one for violin and piano by young composers. These concerts are always streamed live on the website of the BMC. Everyone has done a great job, and I had fun teaching alongside Peter Eötvös and Alessandro Solbiati.
http://www.wikipedia.org

June 5 was the date of the performance of my opera, Barbie Blue (libretto by András Almási Tóth) as the “matching piece” for Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle. This production was part of the ‘BLUEBEARD 100’ Festival of the Hungarian State Opera. At the Erkel Theater (the main opera house building is being remodeled right now and is closed for another season) great singers and the musicians of the State Opera Orchestra did a great job of playing both works (neither of them is easy!), and I enjoyed working with stage director, and former director of the Opera, Miklós Szinetár.
http://www.wikipedia.org
On June 13 I was the conductor of the final exam of the students of the opera department of the Liszt Academy. We have performed a one of a kind, beautiful work, ‘Le vin herbé’ (The Love Potion) by Frank Martin, which practically tells the original version of the Tristan and Isolde story. Unlike the famous Wagner opera, this work is scored for 12 singers, 7 string players and a piano, and has a totally different approach to the legend. Andras Almasi Toth directed the performance, and it was beautifully choreographed by Noémi Kulcsár, artistic Director of the Tellabor Dance Company.

And now, Armel Opera Festival and Competition 2018 is around the corner. I am conducting two performances this year. On July 3 and 4 at the MUTH Theater in Vienna we will be presenting my chamber opera, The Giant Baby, and Lady Sarashina, a one act opera by Peter Eötvös. The latter production is a revival (with a partially new cast) of András Almási Tóth’s staging of the work in collaboration with the Liszt Academy. The Pannon Philharmonic, resident orchestra of the festival will be playing. The Giant Baby was my very first opera. In the last 15 or so years I have composed 3 others, and learned along the way how and what to write for the stage and for operatic voices. I decided to totally rewrite the music for The Giant Baby, and also to rework the libretto with the help of writer Péter Horváth. The Giant Baby is a surrealist story about life in general, and both the music and the staging is aiming at a very special audience, young adults (16+) and adults at the same time. This production is a collaboration between Armel Festival and the Kolibri Theater.
http://www.kolibriszinhaz.hu
János Novák, general director of the theater is doing the staging, and the beautiful puppets are designed by Klaudia Orosz. Here is her page with a couple of photos of her designs.
http://www.kolibriszinhaz.hu
Here is the link to the festival with all the details.
http://www.armelfestival.org
Remember, all performances are LIVE BROADCAST on Arte Concert website and will be available to watch for 6 months afterwards!
There will be two more performances of The Giant Baby in Budapest, on July 6 & 7. With these two performances my season ends and my summer season starts. More about the latter in a later post.

It is a nice coincidence that 3 of my 4 operas happen to be played during the same season. ‘Georgia Bottoms’ had its Hungarian premiere in October, 2017, then there was ‘Barbie Blue’, and now ‘The Giant Baby’ is coming up. Oh yes, and I also made it to the KULT50 selection this year, which is a list comprised by cultural journalists and critics, and published by Fidelio magazine. I was in the 4 artists invited to participate in the press conference. It was a very interesting conversation about Trends and Brands.

——

A 2017-18-as szezon hamarosan véget ér. Amióta Budapestre érkeztem a Huntsville Symphony idei utolsó koncertje után, nem volt megállás. Az Eötvös Intézet által szervezett karmester-zeneszerző kurzuson Karlheinz Stockhausen Punkte és Schönberg Kamaraszimfónia című műveit tanítottam. A fiatal zeneszerzők és karmesterek jól szerepeltek, és a Danubia Zenekar muzsikusai is kitettek magukért. Élvezet volt Eötvös Péterrel és Alessandro Solbiati
http://www.wikipedia.org
olasz zeneszerzővel együtt dolgozni.

Június 5-én került az Erkel Színház színpadára Barbie Blue című operám (Almási Tóth András librettójára) mint a Kékszakállú Herceg Vára párdarabja, a Magyar Állami Operaház Kékszakállú 100 fesztiválja keretében. Az előadás második felében a Kékszakállú Szinetár Miklós rendezésében ment, akivel, akárcsak az est négy énekes szólistájával, öröm volt dolgozni. Az Operaház Zenekarának ez úton is külön köszönöm a figyelmes munkát, és a szép végeredményt!

Június 13-án a Zeneakadémia operavizsgájának keretében elvezényelhettem Frank Martin ‘Le vin herbé’ (A szerelmi bájital) című “ellen-Trisztánját”, amelyet 12 tagú kamarakórusra, hét vonósra és zongorára komponált a svájci zeneszerző. Vicces, hogy pont aznap ment, amikor a MÜPÁ-ban Wagner Trisztán és Izoldája. 🙂 Ismét remekül dolgoztunk Kulcsár Noémivel és Almási Tóth Andrással.

Most következik az idei Armel Fesztivál és Opera Verseny. Július 3-án saját művemet, a Déry Tibor szövege alapján íródott Az Óriáscsecsemőt, majd másnap Eötvös Péter Lady Sarashina című egyfelvonásosát vezényelem a bécsi MUTH Színházban, utóbbit a Pannon Filharmonikusok közreműködésével. A Lady Sarashina az Almási Tóth András rendezte Zeneakadémiás produkció felújítása lesz, míg Az Óriáscsecsemőt Novák János rendezi majd, a Kolibri Színház művészeivel, tervező Orosz Klaudia. További előadások az Operett Színház Raktárszínházában július 6-án és 7-én.
Az Armelről és az Arte Concert élő közvetítéseiről itt lehet részleteket megtudni:
http://www.armelfestival.org

Ezzel az idei szezonban 4 operámból 3 kerül színre valamilyen formában, ami csupán a véletlen műve, és mint ilyen valóban a csillagok szép együttállását jelzi. Idén belekerültem a Fidelio KULT50 válogatásába is, és Tenki Réka színésznővel, Ragályi Elemér operatőrrel és Parti Nagy Lajos íróval együtt a KULT50 sajtótájékoztatójára s meghívtak, ahol Trend és Brand címmel érdekes beszélgetésnek lehettem a résztvevője.

Hamarosan újabb posztban jelentkezem majd a nyári szezon eseményeivel.

Don Quixote and Captain Tobias Hume / Don Quixote és Hume kapitány

About to start the rehearsals for the last classical show of the season of the Huntsville Symphony. On the program: Don Juan and Don Quixote by Richard Strauss, and the super-chambermusic-concerto for cello and orchestra by Schumann. See the details here:
http://www.hso.org
And here is the website of the soloist: my friend, Emilio Colón, cello player and professor extraordinaire:
http://www.emiliocolon.com

Somehow it feels appropriate to end this successful season with two musical portraits, one about Don Juan, the man who never stops searching for the ideal woman (according to the tale by poet Nikolaus Lenau), and one about Don Quixote, Knight of the Sad Face, who never stopped fighting for good causes, and even went agains the giant windmills. In case you did not make the connection let me spell this out for you: classical music business is constant seduction (that of the audience) and a constant battle of the windmills (that of balancing a budget while serving your community and focusing on your mission statement). We are looking forward to a great crowd this weekend, and to another great season of which you can read about in details here:
http://www.hso.org

It is funny, how things align in one’s professional life. As I am studying and performing Don Quixote, I am about to start composing a solo cello piece for Tamás Varga, principal cellist of the Vienna Philharmonic.
http://www.wienerphilharmoniker.at
Tamás requested a piece for solo cello with the special tuning of the Kodály Solo sonata so he can perform three contemporary compositions and the Kodály on the same concert without having to retune, or to have two cellos ready. I decided to compose a piece called, ‘Captain Hume’s Last Pavin’ based on the last letter of Tobias Hume
http://www.wikipedia.org
I go from the Sad Faced Knight portrayed by a cello to a soldier and viol-player in just a few weeks.
There is another commission coming up for me, this time for solo violin. The project was started by violinist Yevgeny Kutik and it is called ‘Meditation on Family’. Check out the Kickstarter video here:
http://www.kickstarter.com

Thanks for reading!
I will keep you posted on more exciting projects for the month of May, June and July!

Holnap kezdődnek az idei szezon utolsó klasszikus koncertjének próbái a Huntsville Symphony élén. Richard Strauss Don Juan és Don Quixote című szimfonikus költeményei, és Schumann Csellóversenye a program.
http://www.hso.org
Az alábbi linken a cselló szólistáról, Emilio Colónról lehet ovasni, aki Bloomingtonban Starker János utódja, és akivel hosszú évek óta ismerjük egymást.
http://www.emiliocolon.com

Érdekes, hogy a mindig az ideális nőt kereső Don Juan (legalábbis Nikolaus Lenau költeménye szerint) és Don Quixote, a Búsképű Lovag története zárják az idei szezont. Valahogy a klasszikus zenei biznisz is ehhez hasonló, egyfelől állandó csábítás (a közönségé), másfelől meg folyamatos szélmalomharc (adminisztráció és pénzügyek). Azért nem kell aggódni, a képem nem bús, és akárcsak Don Quixote, sosem állok meg. Ennek bizonyítéka az HSO következő szezonja, amelyről itt lehet olvasni:
http://www.hso.org

Ami a zeneszerzést illeti, a cselló által megszemélyesített képzeletbeli lovagtól egy valódi katona és viol-játékos történetéhez érkezem hamarosan. Barátom és régi kamarazene-társam, a Bécsi Filharmonikusok szóló csellistája, Varga Tamás
http://www.wienerphilharmoniker.at
kért fel egy mű megírására, amely Kodály Szólószonátájának speciális hangolását veszi alapul. A darab címe “Hume Kapitény utolsó pavinja” lesz, amely Captain Tobias Hume utolsó levelének szövege inspirált. Hume rendkívül érdekes történetéről itt lehet olvasni:
http://www.wikipedia.org
Egy másik felkérés is érkezett nemrég, ezúttal szóló hegedűre írott kompozícióra, amely Yevgeny Kutik hegedűs ‘Meditation on Family’ projektjének része lesz. A projekt Kickstarter kampány videója itt tekinthető meg:
http://www.kickstarter.com

Hamarosan újabb izgalmas hírekkel jelentkezem a következő néhány hónap eseményeiről, addig is köszönöm a figyelmet!

Lots of Work and Plenty of Travel Already in 2018

Hello there and a Happy Belated New Year! I am writing this post at the Atlanta airport lounge, waiting for my flight to Huntsville, replacing the one that was just cancelled a couple of hours ago. Yes, IT IS WINTERTIME and it is coming down hard on the South now, after hitting the North-East of the US.
After a demanding and successful trip to Taiwan and Mainland China (with the Kaohsiung Symphony then with the players of the Hungarian Radio Symphony) I traveled back to Budapest for a couple of days (FYI Turkish Airlines is great!) then packed again to drive to the city of Pecs, where I got to conduct the great Pannon Philharmonic Orchestra. We presented an exciting program, including my piece, Drums Drums Drums, of which we played the Hungarian premiere. Other pieces on the program were: Weill: Little Threepenny Music, Stravinsky: Concerto in D for string orchestra and Hindemith’s powerful Concertmusic for brass and strings. As for Drum Drums Drums, it is now the third set of soloists playing it (however the drum-set part was played by the amazing Gergo Borlai again, who has been part of the World Premiere in Huntsville in 2015), and the piece, I am happy to report, works really well for the audience.
After spending a couple of days in beautiful Southern Hungary (Pecs is only about a 2hr drive from Budapest) I was ready to fly to the Big Apple. Representing Armel Festival as its Artistic Director I have attended 5 shows at the Prototype Festival. I have seen staged concert albums, multi-media music theater works and operas in the traditional sense. It was an impressive line up. I hope that Prototype Festival can become a partner for Armel by as early as 2020, and together we can bring some interesting new works to Budapest, Vienna, and to the screen of ARTE TV as well. Yes, IT IS WINTERTIME, and NYC was way colder than usual. However in the summer I always complain about humidity and high temperatures in manhattan. 🙂
I am ready for a couple of extremely exciting and challenging programs in the next couple of weeks. On Saturday with the Huntsville Symphony I will be conducting Brahms’ Haydn Variations, Beethoven’s Symphony No.7, and sharing the stage again with Elina Vähälä from Finland, who’ll be playing Berg’s beautiful Violin Concerto. More information on the concert here:

http://www.hso.org

After Huntsville it’s Budapest time again, and time for music about machines with the Danubia Symphony at the Liszt Academy. Yes, you read that right, MACHINES!

More about that later!

Until then, here is the link for your enjoyment:

http://www.odz.hu

Holiday Wishes from Around the World

It’s time for the last entry of the calendar year. Why? Because I will be on my way to Taiwan next Monday, then off to China on December 26, and I won’t be back until early January. This will be my first ever trip to Asia ever. I will be conducting the Kaohsiung Symphony Orchestra in an all Viennese program, again with the great American soprano, Rebecca Nelsen singing. After that comes a multi-stop concert tour with the musicians of the Hungarian Radio Symphony. We will be playing Beethoven Symphony No.8 along with Strauss’ Kaiserwaltzer and other great and fun pieces.
As for what happened since my last blog entry, here is a short summary. On November 14 I have conducted a program with the Hungarian radio Symphony at the Palace of the Arts (MUPA), Budapest. The program was made up of two Mahler compositions, Songs of a Wayfarer and Symphony No.1 “Titan”, and the famous ‘Cantus Artcticus’, concerto for birds and orchestra by Rautavaara. The Radio Symphony and I have made history by playing a Rautavaara work for the very first time in the (now about 18yo) history o Palace of the Arts. After a short and sweet Thanksgiving break with friends in Milwaukee, Wisconsin I have gotten a lot of things done in Huntsville in preparation for season 18-19. Last week after spending two full days at the Budapest Music Center, composer-conductor Peter Eötvös and myself have selected 4 young composers and 2 conductors for the multi-year mentor program of the Peter Eötvös Contemporary Music Foundation. Two days ago I have spent a day working with the Pannon Philharmonic Orchestra in Pécs.
In the meantime I have finished Part One of my new-old Puppet Opera, The Giant Baby (premiere early July, 2018 at the Armel Festival) and have sent the vocal scores to the singers. I am planning to finish working on the opera latest by mid March, 2018. More on it later!
Check out my pretty busy schedule of the first three months of calendar year 2018 here ———————————>
If you are on the main page of my blog site just look to the right! 😉
I wish all of you a Blessed Holiday Season and all the best for the New Year!
See you here again in January!

Action Packed Three Weeks

And more to come.
Huntsville Symphony has had a successful opening classical week with Mussorgsky-Ravel Pictures at an Exhibition and Orff’s Carmina Burana. It was just the perfect way to start the season and to create lots of positive buzz. My first weekend of the 2017-18 season at Huntsville also included an extensive day of auditions for several positions, including Concert Master and Principal Cello. We have hired some talented players and will be inviting candidates to fill the principal spots starting January.
The week after I have traveled to New Brunswick, NJ and conducted the Rutgers Symphony Orchestra. The program was the following: Ravel: La Valse, Haydn: Cello Concerto in C, Stravinsky: Petrushka. It was a great week with the young players and with this fun program. Also the first time ever I have stayed at an actual university campus. It was good to reunite and to spend some time with my friend, Al Baer, principal tuba player of the New York Phil and the head of the brass department at Rutgers. Last Friday I have conducted the second classical show of the season in Huntsville. Both our soloist, Claire Huangci and the orchestra did a great job in an especially difficult program. Ravel: Rapsodie Espagnol,Piano Concerto in G, Respighi: Fountains of Rome, and Debussy: La Mer. Just two days later, on Sunday we presented our first Casual Classics performance with Schubert’s genius Octet for which I have picked up my clarinet again. It was our usual, annual dinner/concert setting with the musicians telling funny stories about themselves. Oh yes, and the performance took place at the Yellowhammer Brewery’s Speakeasy, a perfect venue for this serenade-like composition.
I am writing this post at the KLM Lounge at the Amsterdam Airport. When I am done, I am going to continue watching YouTube videos of 77 young conductors who have applied to the multi year mentor program of the International Eotvos Contemporary Music Foundation. This week Peter Eotvos and I will be selecting the ones who will travel to Budapest in December to participate in a live audition along with 30 some young composers.
On Tuesday I am starting the rehearsals with the Hungarian Radio Symphony for our November 14 concert. For the program click the link below!

http://www.mrze.hu

Stay tuned and thanks for reading!

Georgia Bottoms in Budapest, Interviews, Reviews, Videos

A pretty long, exhausting and fun period is over. Georgia Bottoms, A Comic Opera of the Modern South had a new, Hungarian production in the frame of CAFe (Contemporary Art Festival) Budapest at the Liszt Academy. The production was a success, the audience loved it and so far the critics had a positive opinion as well. I am glad, that this 85 minute long, one act chamber opera made quite a few people among Hungarian intellectuals to go online and buy Mark Childress’ original novel, Georgia Bottoms. The book deserves attention, and a great translation for the European and Hungarian market. Luckily, many of the intellectuals interested in my art can speak and read English. They all bought the book here, and you should, too!
http://www.amazon.com

Unfortunately however, – this is what happens when a country has a language that nobody else is speaking,- all the interviews and reviews below are in Hungarian. This time being a Hungarian has an advantage: you get way more info about the opera, the production and you can also read about many other topics that came up in the interviews in the original language. I translated a couple of things below for my English speaking friends, and I can promise you that no music-lover will be left behind. I am in the process of translating a selection of the interviews and posting them online as soon as I can. In the meantime, enjoy what you can by clicking on the links below!

Let’s start with a really well translated interview with Rebecca Nelsen, who has been doing Georgia Bottoms’ role for the second time in two years. I myself have learned a couple of interesting, new things about what it’s like to be a woman in the South.
“The Era of Just Standing And Singing Is Over”
http://www.fidelio.hu

By clicking on the link below you can read the very first (posted just a couple of hours after the Sunday premiere) instant feedback by a local theater/ music-theater blogger. She will be posting more about Georgia Bottoms, once the entire CAFe Budapest Festival is over.
http://www.mezeinezo.hu

Here are three interviews with me, mostly about Georgia Bottoms, but also about teaching, conducting and politics.
“When A Chord Sounds That Can Feel Really Good”
http://www.operavilag.net

“I Want to Write Music I’ve Never Heard Before”
http://www.theater.hu

“Constant Failures Mean The System Is Working”
http://www.papageno.hu

“You Cannot Put 9-11 Into Music” (interview) + “Bittersweet Georgia” (review)
These articles will be available for free soon via the website link below.
According to this review my music is from the Deep South 🙂 The critic loved the humor of the opera in text, in music and in staging as well/ “…a múlt vasárnapi bemutatón átütővé vált a mű humora: szövegben, játékban és – éppen nem mellesleg – zenében egyaránt.”
http://magyarnarancs.hu

“Under Lucky Stars”
This critic loved the production in every way possible, including the staging by Andras Alamai Toth, the singing of the entire cast, especially Rebecca Nelsen and Keith Browning, the quality of the musicians of Ensemble UMZE, and the music itself. The critic had a nice summary of my music as well, Let me copy it here, first just in Hungarian.

“A muzsika majd’ minden hangjából árad az amerikai Dél hangulatát megidéző couleur locale, de hiba lenne, ha csak ennyit jegyeznénk meg az igényes kompozícióról, mely (az utóbbi évek kortársopera-tendenciáival ellentétben) jóval több egyszer használatos alkalmazott zenénél: saját értékénél fogva is emlékezetünkbe vésődik, miközben híven festi a szöveg dramaturgiai fordulatait. A posztmodern jó szokásához híven bőven idéz különböző zenei stílusok eszköztárából, ám ezeket egységes keretbe foglalja – sosem támad az az érzésünk, hogy bármely hang is öncélúan került volna a partitúrába. Ez a határozott zeneszerzői egyéniség biztos ismertetőjegye.”

http://nepszava.hu

The FaceBook page of CAFe Budapest festival. There is an interview with me about Georgia Bottoms and about getting our of your comfort zone in general. Again, the interview is in Hungarian, but the “Day 3 of the Festival” video can be enjoyed without speaking this one of a kind language.
http://www.facebook.com/CAFeBudapestOfficial

Oh yes, and I did get to translate Mark Childress’ RAP lyrics for a newly added scene into Hungarian for the surtitles. I even made it rhyme. 🙂

The Season of Operas

On Monday we are starting the second week of ‘DialogScene’ workshop organized by the Peter Eötvös Contemporary Music Foundation. I will be moderating a “meet the audience” session in the evening.
http://www.bmc.hu
The final performance of the five brand new operas composed by young composers from all over the world, and directed by young Hungarian directors (music-theater directors’ class of Tamás Ascher) is open to the audience and will be held in the evening of Friday, September 15.
Click below for more details.
http://www.bmc.hu

When I am not teaching I am composing new music to my first opera, The Giant Baby. The world premiere will take place in Vienna as part of the 2018 Armel Opera Festival. I am having a lot of fun with totally re-writing the music to the slightly altered libretto based on the 1926 Dadaist play by Hungarian Author Tibor Déry.
https://www.britannica.com

Just so we stick to the theme of the fall of 2017, my latest stage work, ‘Georgia Bottoms, A Comic Opera of the Modern South’ will get a new production at the Academy of Music as part of CAFe Budapest (Contemporary Art Festival Budapest). Rebecca Nelsen, who sang the title role in Huntsville two years ago returns as Georgia. Also in the role of her son, Nathan I am happy to have the young and talented American baritone, Keith Browning from the original cast. Author of the novel, Georgia Bottoms, my co-librettist, Mark Childress (who will also be here for the Hungarian premiere) and I have added two completely new scenes and changed one of the old ones to make the story more complete. Changes were needed also to give a little resting time and more than a minute to change costumes for rebecca as Georgia Bottoms. The staging will be done by Andras Almasi Toth, and the other 9 roles will be sung by talented Hungarian singers, including Andrea Meláth, head of the Vocal Department of the Liszt Academy. Here are the dates for the performances:
October 8 and 10
and a link to the website of CAFe Budapest:
https://www.cafebudapest.hu

Music For Different Summers

Bartók: The Wooden Prince (complete ballet with live sand animation)
Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring (performed with live dance)

I have started my summer by leading the conducting master-class with the rep above at the International Bartok Seminar and Festival. It was an honor to be a professor at this esteemed festival. John Cage, Gyorgy Ligeti and other world class musicians and composers have visited the Bartok Festival in small town Szombathely, Hungary back in the days. It was truly the place to be in the summer when I was a student. I myself have started there as a conductor student some 20 years ago, also have studied chamber music with Gyorgy Kurtág as a clarinetist.
This year I’ve had the honor to teach 10 active and a few passive students from all over the world. The closing concert was beautifully presented and very well attended.
After a short stop in Huntsville (there is always something to do when I am in town, and I did use my time wisely for business luncheons, meetings and planning) I have spent the last 10+ days in Portland, OR. I have taken on the role of Incoming Music Director of the Portland Festival Symphony in the last couple of years.

http://www.portlandfestivalsymphony.org

This wonderful organization has been providing free classical music for the Portland audience for over 35 years now. Playing live classical music in very different neighborhoods of the city for kids and adults is a fascinating and very rewarding mission. This year I have programmed overtures by Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert along with my own piece “Rough and Ready, an American Outdoor Overture” composed directly for PFS and its outdoor concerts. The concert series ends today with an all strings concert.

I am ready for a brief vacation with my two sons, Balazs and Vince after this week. Well be spending our time in and around Huntsville, AL, and will be visiting the great city of New Orleans, too. After our annual “father and sons” vacation I will be flying to the Island of Jersey to start a hopefully long tradition of “Opera Island”. Armel Opera Festival is branching out and I am really excited about being part of this exciting new experiment. I will definitely post more about “Opera Island” at the end of this month. In the meantime, please check out the Jersey Opera House website for the Armel Festival program here:

http://www.www.jerseyoperahouse.co.uk

It sure feels like the extreme hot weather has been chasing me around. Hot and hotter weather in Szombathely, Budapest, Huntsville, and even in Portland (it was 109 degrees Fahrenheit on Thursday, that’s over 42 degrees Celsius). Yet the character of Summer is still different at these very different places, so is the music I have been working on. I find the summer of 2017 striking a nice balance between time off and good work. And yes, there is always composition time whenever I can get it. The new version of my first opera, “The Giant Baby” is in the making. Premiere at the end of June, 2018.

From Frankfurt to the Red Comet

Last week I made my debut with the Frankfurt Radio Symphony. It was an amazing experience with a great orchestra made of open minded and friendly musicians. The audience at the “Sendesaal” of the Frankfurt Radio was very appreciative and enthusiastic. There was a fun pre-concert talk as well attended by about 200 people. On the program entitled ‘The Hungary of Eötvös’, there were all Hungarian contemporary pieces from four generations of composers including myself.’Concertino’ by József Sári, ‘Passacaglie’ by László Tihanyi, ‘Leviation’ by Péter Eötvös and my ‘Drums Drums Drums’ for three percussion players and orchestra.
http://www.hr-online.de
I was really happy about the reception of my percussion triple concerto. There was a ‘rock-concert feel’ to the performance and also to the reaction of the audience, just what I was hoping to achieve. I am looking forward to the next performance of this composition of mine in January 2018 with the Pannon Philharmonic!

The first radio broadcast of the Frankfurt concert will be on May 15 followed by a re-broadcast not long after. I will keep you posted.

I am back in Hungary now gearing up for many performances to come. The next two long months have kicked off with a project of the International Young Soloists (musicians from the UK and Hungary) with a program of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven to be played at two small venues this week. In the meantime I have started working with the singers for Ligeti’s ‘Le Grand Macabre'(performance at the Erkel Theater on May 26: hence the RED COMET, if you remember the famous coloratura soprano aria!), and had my first read-though rehearsal with the Modern Art Orchestra. The latter one is Hungary’s leading Big Band. On May 28 at the Budapest Music Center I will be conducting a few arrangements of my music (Adagio from the Clarinet Symphony among them), and some great music by Duke Ellington and Pat Metheny among others.
http://www.bmc.hu

I will post more later about the upcoming opera productions in the frame of the “Hungarian Opera Festival” in the month of May and June. Stay tuned for a revival of the “Hungarian Late Night” show and two performances of “Spring Awakening” by Máté Bella and “La Violetta” by Árpád Solti at the Liszt Academy!