Happy Wednesday / Vidám szerda

It sure feels like this is the beginning of the season already, however my debut with the Györ Philharmonic is really the last concert of my summer. Check out the program of the 2018 European Clarinet Festival here:

I had a great time in Portland, OR with Three Leg Torso and the Portland Festival Symphony playing at beautiful city parks for big crowds in the first two weeks of August. After returning to Hungary I’ve had some time off at the famous Lake Balaton. Of course, I used the time to do some composing and arranging. I am working on my new orchestral piece for the Hungarian Radio symphony for March 2019 called Gloomy Sunday Variations, and on arrangements of Debussy’s Faun and Ravel’s Pavane for flute, clarinet, harp and string quartet. I am looking forward to starting the 18-19 season in Huntsville in about three weeks, and in Hungary with the Radio Symphony at the end of September. I will keep you posted, thanks for reading!

Hiába még nyár, de már szezonkezdés érzésem van az e heti koncertemmel kapcsolatban. Az Európai Klarinétfesztivál (program a fenti linken) gála koncertje ma este egyben a debütálásom is a Győri Filharmonikusok élén.
Augusztus első két hetében remek hangulatú koncertjeim voltak a Portland Festival Symphony élén a Three Leg Torso nevű world music csapat közreműködésével a város parkjaiban, szép számú közönség előtt. Ezután nyaraltam a Balatonnál egy kicsit. A fürdés és a Vajda család szokásos éves összejövetele mellé persze befért némi komponálás és hangszerelés is. A Rádiózenekar jövő évi koncertjére írom a Szomorú Vasárnap Variációkat, illetve a Ravel Pavane és a Debussy Faun kamarazenei átiratait is készítem. Kb. 3 hét múlva kezdem a 18-19-es szezont Huntsville-ben, majd a Rádiózenekarral itthon szeptember végén. Többet hamarosan itt! Kellemes nyár végét mindenkinek!

100 Years Old Music

“Arbitrary as the choice of any year between 1880 and 1930 might be, 1913 was certainly distinguished by modernist landmarks in music, art, literature, fashion, and film /…/”

As it happens many times I don’t have access to my books in Budapest, Hungary when I need them. I have purchased and read a book entitled ‘1913’, and as much as I would love to use a couple of quotes here I cannot remember the author’s name. I tried finding the book online, but all the books of the same or similar title that pop up in a search, deal with politics and world history only instead of art. I found a great article at the Telegraph however and that is where the opening quote is from. Read the full article here:


Here are the dates for the pieces played by the Huntsville Symphony this Saturday for our last classical concert of the season.
Stravinsky: Rite of Spring -1913 (time of the infamous premiere performance)
Ravel: Alborada del gracioso -1905 (as a piano piece), -1918 (orchestra version)
Szymanowski: Violin Concerto #1 -1916 (composed), -1922 (premiered)

Yes, as unbelievable as it is, “The Rite of Spring” is over a 100 years old. So are the two other pieces. As you can see we are talking about a period a little over 15 years here, including some of the most turbulent times of the 20th Century, especially in Europe.
‘Rite of Spring’ was sure a “Vision of the Future” just one year before WW1 started. Ravel’s colorful Alborada del grazioso (The Jester’s Aubade) from the ‘Miroirs’ (Mirrors) piano series is one of the most popular examples of his “Spanish flavor” musical pieces. In its orchestral version it possesses the rhythmical and sound-color qualities of ‘Rite of Spring’.
I would like to encourage you to read the Wikipedia article below on Polish composer Karol Szymanowski. Upon reading his biography it’ll be clear how his gorgeous late-Romantic Violin Concerto No. 1 fits into the program.
By programming this beautiful piece of music, and by engaging the amazing Philippe Quint to play the solo violin part, I hope to contribute to the re-discovery of the music of this forgotten genius.

Thank You All for supporting the HSO in 2016-17!
Don’t forget to get your tickets to ‘Video Games Live’ on May 6 at the VBC! It will be the perfect ending to a great season.
Please read about our exciting next season here:

Stay in touch and have a wonderful summer!

Musical Metabolism

Metabolism: the sum of the physical and chemical processes in an organism by which its material substance is produced, maintained, and destroyed, and by which energy is made available.
There is sure a lot of energy made available during the performance of Métaboles by Henri Dutilleux. What a great showpiece for orchestra! It comes second on our program this weekend with the Omaha Symphony. The concert opens with Debussy’s Danse (Tarantelle Styrienne) orchestrated by Maurice Ravel himself. Concluding the first half is the virtuoso Violin Concerto #3 by Saint-Saens. My soloist for this piece is the amazing David Kim, concert master of the Philadelphia Orchestra
After a varied and fairly long first half we are playing only one composition for the second half of the concert. Shostakovich Symphony #1 is a long time favorite of mine. Written by a 19yo composer this symphony has everything we love Shostakovich for without the long shadow of Comrade Stalin over it.
About 9 years ago I was invited to conduct the Omaha Symphony for its last concert in their old concert hall. I was also asked to do a rehearsal in the then not yet finished new hall to help the acoustic adjustments the venue needed. This time I am really fortunate to conduct two shows of a truly exciting program in the Holland Center’s beautiful concert hall.

Threepenny Concert

If you subscribed to one of our concert series (3 concerts each) in the 2013-14 season you got a concert for free. The “free” concert of one of the series’ is happening tomorrow at the newly renovated Franz Liszt Academy of Music.
I designed the program to let every section of the Hungarian Radio Symphony and individual players to shine.

Kurt Weill: Little Threepenny Music
(for woodwinds, brass, banjo, piano, accordion and percussion)
Bartok: Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta
(the title says it all ☺)
Hindemith: Concert Music for Brass and Strings Op. 50
(this one is a great showpiece orchestrated for 12 brass instruments and strings [no 2nd violin!] in the duration of 20 some minutes)
Ravel: Bolero
(no explanation needed I hope, this is definitely the piece to prove that you are the master of your own instrument)

These four pieces were written between 1928 and 1936. By this time or soon three of the four composers were living in the United States. Europe was marching towards WWII dragging the entire world along. As almost always in the time of massive changes art was thriving. I wanted to put together a program with 4 completely different yet equally energetic and powerful compositions from this era. As usual you can listen to the concert live at
at 1:30PM EST tomorrow (Friday) or stream it later for another two weeks.
On Saturday afternoon my orchestra and I will be spending a couple of hours in Studio 6 of the Hungarian Radio to present the Bartok piece with some entertaining and informative talk by musicologist Sandor Kovacs in front of a live audience. This episode of the series “Musically Speaking” will be aired at a later time on Radio Bartok (all in Hungarian of course ☺)

Music in the Mountains Summer Fest 2013 First Weekend

First concert of SummerFest 2013 tonight.
Ravel: Le Tombeau de Couperin, Rodrigo: Concierto de Aranjuez (Gyan Riley-guitar), Bizet: Symphony in C
Saturday morning: Free Family Concert, Mozart: Magic Flute Overture, Britten: Young Persons’ Guide To The Orchestra
The fun and amazing band Three Leg Torso is playing a show in the evening.
Sunday: Glazunov: Summer, Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition (original solo piano version: Aleksander Korsantia, piano), Chopin: Piano Concerto #2 (Aleksander Korsantia, piano)
Check out the details here: