Thirty years ago, on 20 September 1986 the building of the Old Music Academy was opened to the public and Liszt’s onetime apartment was inaugurated as the Liszt Ferenc Memorial Museum and Research Centre. His memory is constantly being kept alive, the authentic environment of the Museum attracts close to 20 thousand visitors a year. The founding director, Mária Eckhardt and her colleagues, among the Zsuzsanna Domokos the current director with her staff constantly work on preserving Liszt’s heritage by organizing programs that recall the life of the Old Academy and worthily commemorate the composer’s immortal works and exceptional personality. One of the most important series of events is the Saturday Matinée concerts held ever since 1986, during the school year. The purpose is to educate and entertain at the same time. Another important occasion the Liszt Festival goes back to the 2011 jubilee year. Just after Liszt’s death on the first meeting of the board of directors on the initiative of János Végh, vice president the members decided to organize a festival every 22 October to commemorate the birthday of the founding president, in the Concert Hall next to his apartment. All future directors, rectors and the Budapest Liszt Society followed the tradition and continued organizing the festivities even after the new building of the Music Academy was opened in 1907. The Academy’s former students are extremely grateful to the founder for creating the institution where they have become excellent musicians.
Dr. Andrea Vigh, the president of the Liszt Academy, concluded her opening speech for the festival as follows:
„Even though it may sound a cliché – when talking about Liszt, a romantic phrase is acceptable - , we have to keep going we have to keep the flame burning. The big question today is how we can preserve and pass on the spirit of our master, his generosity, his respect of European culture and his constant commitment to talent. In less than a month there will be 11 concerts within these historic walls to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the museum. All of the festival concerts represent a high standard and could be performed in any concert hall around the World. Among the performers we can find well known artists, young musicians who have just started their career and students of the Liszt Academy. This in itself is very symbolic: I am convinced that Liszt would have chosen the artist based on similar values. I am grateful to the staff of the Liszt Museum for organizing the festival, and even more so thank you for the wonderful 30 years!”
The concerts of the festival were sincere mementos of Liszt’s spirit and his former home, the concert hall was packed with people on every occasion and the festive atmosphere was constant. The audience applauded with standing ovation or expressed their admiration with silence, in each case they left the house enriched by an unforgettable experience. It was an honor for us that the Liszt Museum Foundation published a nice booklet with the complete program in Hungarian and in English, which were handed to our audience before each concert. The booklets contain information about the artists, their program, a short description of the pieces they played and all this can be found on our website.
The festival was organized under the patronage of Dr. János Áder, president of Hungary and NKA (National Cultural Fund) also supported the concerts.