Musicians celebrate Liszt legacy

Music students have collaborated with the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest, Hungary to host Lisztfest, a festival celebrating pianist Franz Liszt’s 200th birthday.

Tamás Ungár, professor of music, said the festival will feature two guest performers from the academy who will teach master classes and give presentations during the day and will perform Liszt’s most famous works during evening recitals.

The TCU Piano Division is one of the best in the country, Ungár said. Ungár, a former student of the Franz Liszt Academy of Music, said that the collaboration is “natural” because of TCU’s prestigious program and its connections to the academy through Ungár.

Professors from the Liszt Academy of Music plan to hold the master classes and performances exclusively at two schools in the United States: Yale and TCU, Ungár said.

“The uniqueness of the occasion should bring out many, many students,” he said. “And I stress the point that it is well known music. It’s not music that only pianists or only musicians like.”

The master classes will be taught by performers Balázs Réti and Balázs Fülei, both professors at the Liszt Academy of Music, according to the TCU School of Music’s website. Students in the classes were handpicked by their professors, Ungár said.

Through the master class, the students will be immersed in Liszt’s philosophy and hopefully become better musicians, he said.

“It’s like importing a whole set of ideas that many people go there to find out, but now we’re bringing them here,” Ungár said.

Liszt founded the Academy in 1875, according to the academy’s website. The academy is one of the few places that “actually keeps up with the tradition and heritage of Liszt,” Ungár said.

Franz Liszt was the Michael Jackson of his day, Ungár said.

“Women fainted when he played the piano,” Ungár said. “They would run up to the piano to get a piece of his hair.”

Evan Mitchell, who is in his first year of working towards his Artist Diploma, was selected to participate in the master class. He said that a “fresh perspective” on how to perfect his pieces would be helpful.

An Artist Diploma is meant to prepare a student for his or her concert career, according to the TCU School of Music website.

Edith Widayani, a senior piano performance major, said Liszt’s music was quite unique.

“It has a certain magic to it that I feel not a lot of composers have,” said.

Classical music is under-appreciated despite its role in history and in shaping society, she said.

Ungár said the audience could attend the recitals and take part in celebrating what a wonderful person Liszt was.

PepsiCo Recital Hall
Friday Jan. 27:
Balázs Fülei – Opening Recital 7 p.m.
Saturday Jan. 28:
Balázs Réti – Recital 7 p.m.
Admission is free.