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March 20th
Palace of Arts - Béla Bartók National Concert Hall, 7:30 pm
Tchaikovsky: Violin concerto in D Major, op. 35
Beethoven: Symphony No. 7 in A Major, op. 92
Conductor: Louis Langrée
Joshua Bell is one of today’s most successful violinists. Right from the beginning of his career this world-famous artist has been in the spotlight of attention with his recordings and concerts. One January morning in 2007 in one of Washington’s busiest metro stations, wearing old jeans, a T-shirt and baseball cap, for 43 minutes he played his fabulously expensive violin as a street musician. He played six difficult and demanding classical works as 1097 people, mainly middle-class government officials, walked past him. Most of them did not even stop or notice the extremely high artistic quality unusual in a pedestrian passage. Only a few people paused to listen to the music for a few minutes, seven people gave money and just over 32 dollars accumulated in the violin case. Only one woman recognised Joshua Bell. As far as we know Joshua Bell is not planning to appear in 2009 in Blaha Lujza Square so we can enjoy his performance of Tchaikovsky’s violin concerto in a concert hall with considerably better acoustics. The excellent Camerata Salzburg, no stranger to the Budapest public, will be conducted by the leading French conductor Louis Langrée.
Prices: 15000, 12000, 9500, 7500, 5500, 3500 HUF

Joshua Bell © Bill Phelps

Louis Langrée © Benjamin Ealovega

March 21st
Academy of Music, 7:30 pm
Prokofiev: Visions fugitives (arrangement for string orchestra), op.22
Shostakovich: Piano concerto No. 1
Arvo Pärt: Cantus in memoriam Britten
Britten: Lachrymae
Bartók: Divertimento
With: Daniil Grishin – viola, Manuel Lichtenwöhrer – trumpet
Few chamber ensembles are able to match the rapid international success achieved by the Kremerata Baltica established in 1997 at the initiative of Gidon Kremer. The orchestra composed of young musicians from three Baltic countries gives sixty concerts a year and has a repertoire ranging from Vivaldi to Piazzolla, from classical works to contemporary music. Its artistic director is Gidon Kremer. The ensemble appears at leading festivals and in famous concert halls with renowned conductors and soloists and has worked with such artists as Jessye Norman, Oleg Maisenberg, David Geringas, Boris Pergamenschikov, Tatiana Grindenko, Sir Simon Rattle, Christoph Eschenbach, Kent Nagano, Saulius Sondeckis, Andrej Borejko, Roman Kofman and Vladimir Ashkenazy. One of these artists, the famous Russian-born pianist Oleg Maisenberg will appear with them in Budapest.
Prices: 9500, 7500, 5500, 3500 HUF

March 22nd
Palace of Arts - Béla Bartók National Concert Hall, 7:30 pm
Bartók Evening
Bluebeard’s Castle – semi-staged performance
The Miraculous Mandarin
Following an excellent recording and a highly successful New York performance, the two famous Hungarian singers will sing again in Budapest of the hopeless love of Judit and Bluebeard. It is impossible here to list all the stages in the brilliant careers of Ildikó Komlósi and László Polgár. We shall mention only some of their engagements for the 2008–2009 season. Komlósi is singing Herodias in the Metropolitan Opera (R. Strauss: Salome), Carmen in Rome and the Verona Arena, Amneris in the Berlin and Munich Staatsoper, and in Verona (Verdi: Aida). She will appear in Cavalleria Rusticana in Cagliari (Teatro Lirico), the role of Princess de Bouillon in Adriana Lecouvreur awaits her in Covent Garden, and she will sing Federica in Luisa Miller in the Paris National Opera. László Polgár will take the role of Raimondo in Zurich (Donizetti: Lucia di Lammermoor), King Marke in Birmingham (Wagner: Tristan und Isolde). In 2009 he is to sing the roles of Talbot (Donizetti: Maria Stuarda), Colline (Puccini: La Bohème) and Claudius (Handel: Agrippina) in Zurich. Besides Budapest, he will sing Bluebeard several times in Athens.
Prices: 8500, 7500, 6500, 4500, 2500, 1500 HUF

March 23rd
Academy of Music, 7:30 pm
23 March, 1939
Beethoven: Egmont overture, op. 84
Bartók: Violin concerto No. 2
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 4 in F minor, op. 36
Conductor: Gábor Takács-Nagy
With: András Keller – violin, Hungarian Symphony Orchestra
The Hungarian Symphony Orchestra’s last season was characterised by new impulses, an experimental repertoire, thematic concerts and a fresh approach. András Keller, the new music director, is reverting to his “original profession” to perform the violin solo in this concert. And while he plays the solo of Bartók’s popular second violin concerto, the conductor’s baton will be wielded by another outstanding violinist, Gábor Takács-Nagy, founder of the famous Takács Quartet who has demonstrated over and over again in recent years that he is able to continue the noblest traditions as a conductor too.
The programme is the same as that of the concert held in Amsterdam on March 23, 1939 where Zoltán Székely gave the first performance of Bartók’s violin concerto under the baton of Willem Mengelberg.
Prices: 6500, 5500, 3500, 1500 HUF

March 25th
Palace of Arts - Béla Bartók National Concert Hall, 7:30 pm
An Evening with the Hungarian National Philharmonic on the Anniversary of Bartók’s Birth
Debussy: Jeux
Bartók: Rhapsody for violin, Nos. 1 and 2
Bartók: Four pieces for orchestra, op. 12
Bartók: Cantata profana
Conductor: Zoltán Kocsis
With: Barnabás Kelemen – violin, Attila Fekete, János Gurbán – voice
Choirmaster: Mátyás Antal
According to the experts Debussy created his most modern and exciting score when he composed ballet music based on the search for a lost tennis ball. We will never know whether Jeux really could have been the beginning of a new period for Debussy, but Zoltán Kocsis will certainly show that it is a wonderful composition worth discovering. Few people can match his deep feeling for and understanding of the art of the French composer.
The Bartók programme within the concert timed to coincide with the birthday of Béla Bartók could be a full programme in itself. In addition to the popular violin rhapsodies it features two basic works of 20th century music. A few years ago it was still necessary to point out the exceptional merits of the Four pieces for orchestra. Today (thanks to the revelatory interpretations of Zoltán Kocsis and Péter Eötvös) the work occupies its rightful place in the repertoire and in the hearts of concert-goers. For a long while Cantata profana enjoyed the respect due to major works, but conductors seem to have neglected it in recent years. Here is the opportunity to realise that life is not worth living without such a masterpiece. We will be helped in this discovery not only by the many outstanding musicians but also by Szabolcs Brickner who scored one of the most brilliant victories of the last decade when he won the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Belgium in May 2008.
Prices: 6500, 5500, 4500, 3500, 2500, 1500 HUF

March 26th
Palace of Arts - Béla Bartók National Concert Hall, 7:30 pm
J. Ch. Bach: Lucio Silla – overture
Mozart: Piano concerto No. 18 in B flat major, K 456
Mozart: Divertimento in E flat major, K 113
Mozart: Piano concerto No. 24 in C minor, K 491
With: Piotr Anderszewski – piano
With his Budapest solo evening the brilliant Polish-Hungarian pianist Piotr Anderszewski became one of the public’s favourites. On this occasion he is to perform two Mozart piano concertos with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. The ensemble is one of the very best; it has made many recordings with Sir Charles Mackerras and given memorable concerts and opera productions. In 2006 the Scottish Chamber Ensemble recorded two Mozart piano concertos (K 453 and K 466) with Anderszewski for a CD that was received with enthusiasm by the experts and the public. BBC Music Magazine’s critic rated it as “not to be missed”.
Prices: 9900, 8900, 7500, 6500, 4500, 2500 HUF

March 27th
Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Ceremonial Hall, Roosevelt tér, 7:30 pm
Szabadi 50
Mendelssohn: Violin concerto in E minor, op. 64
Sibelius: Violin concerto in D minor, op. 47
Beethoven: Triple concerto in C major, op. 56
Conductor: Zsolt Hamar
With: Vilmos Szabadi – violin, Csaba Onczay – cello, Márta Gulyás – piano, Pannon Philharmonic Orchestra – Pécs
Unbelievable, but true: Vilmos Szabadi will be 50 on March 10, 2009! It seems like only yesterday that he won first prize in two top violin competitions, in 1982 and again in 1983, and we still vividly remember how Sir Georg Solti and the London Philharmonics invited him to play the Bartók 2nd violin concerto in the Royal Festival Hall at the Bartók gala concert in 1988. He is now rewarding the public with a really big concert in which he takes the lion’s share in each number, faithful to the spirit of his entire career. In Mendelssohn’s popular violin concerto and the equally challenging Sibelius concerto we can celebrate together with the great virtuoso, and in Beethoven’s triple concerto with the first-rate chamber musician always responding sensitively to his partners.
Price: 4000 HUF

March 29th
Palace of Arts - Béla Bartók National Concert Hall, 7:30 pm
Smetana: Vltava
Dvořák: Violin concerto in A minor, op. 53
Martinů: Symphony No. 1
Conductor: Vladimír Válek
With: Dmitri Berlinsky – violin
The Czech Republic is greeting Budapest with masterpieces of Czech music. The Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra established in 1926 is one of Europe’s prestigious old ensembles. It has played under the baton of such great conductors as Charles Munch, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Sir Charles Mackerras and Vaclav Neumann. Famous composers – Honegger, Khachaturian, Penderecki – also conducted the ensemble. After the Second World War it was headed by Karol Ancerl, Alois Klima and Jaroslav Krombholc and at present it is under the direction of Vladimír Válek. It is now considered to be one of the leading radio orchestras. Together with its principal conductor the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra has taken part in successful concert tours and made many recordings. Válek has recorded all Martinů’s symphonies with this ensemble.
“Our Guest the Czech Republic”

Prices: 8500, 7500, 6500, 4500, 2500, 1500 HUF

March 30th
Palace of Arts - Béla Bartók National Concert Hall, 7:30 pm
Schumann: Genoveva overture, op. 81
Beethoven: Piano concerto No. 3 in C minor, op. 37
Brahms: Symphony No. 3 in F Major, op. 90
Conductor: Daniel Harding
With: Fazil Say – piano
Anyone who has seen and heard live or on DVD the Aix-en-Provence festival productions directed by Peter Brook (Don Giovanni) and Patrice Chéreau (Così fan tutte) will certainly have noticed the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and its young conductor, Daniel Harding. The Oxford-born young man first attracted attention as assistant to Sir Simon Rattle, then to Claudio Abbado. From 2003 he became music director of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and from 2007 director of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra. He conducts leading ensembles and is a regular guest at prestigious festivals. Milestones in his career as an opera conductor have been two productions at Covent Garden (Britten: The Turn of the Screw; Berg: Wozzeck) and the première of Idomeneo in the Milan Scala (2005). Harding conducted the Wiener Philharmoniker in a performance of Don Giovanni at the 2006 Salzburg Mozart celebrations. He will appear in Budapest with the virtuoso Turkish pianist and composer, Fazil Say who, as ambassador of the year in 2008 represents the main goals of the EU initiative “European Year of Intercultural Dialogue”.
Prices: 9500, 8500, 7500, 6500, 4500, 2500 HUF

Mahler Chamber Orchestra © Elisabeth Carecchio

Daniel Harding © Eisuke Miyoshi

March 31st
Academy of Music, 7:30 pm
Haydn: Symphony in C minor, Hob. I:52
Haydn: Cello concerto in C major, Hob. VIIb:1
Haydn: Symphony in E minor (Trauer), Hob. I:44
Haydn: Cello concerto in D major, Hob. VIIb:2
Concertmaster: János Rolla
The concert to be given by Miklós Perényi and the Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra is an outstanding event of the Haydn year. In 2008 concert-goers celebrated a double anniversary, the 60th birthday of the famous cellist and the 45th anniversary of the Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra. Isaac Stern said of the ensemble that “this orchestra is like a comfortable pair of shoes”, so it is not surprising that towards the end of his career one of the greatest violinists of the 20th century preferred to tour with the ensemble led by János Rolla. According to Péter Eötvös, Miklós Perényi “is like nature, like the trees and the flowers: he just exists and radiates”. On this occasion their much awaited joint concert will celebrate Joseph Haydn. The programme features two of the composer’s great symphonies and two of his cello concertos, and we could hardly wish more than that for ourselves.
Prices: 6500, 5500, 3500, 1500 HUF

April 1st
Academy of Music, 7:30 pm
Haydn: The Seasons
Conductor: György Vashegyi
With: Tünde Szabóki, Timothy Bentch, István Kovács – voice, Orfeo Orchestra, Purcell Choir
György Vashegyi and his ensembles performed the splendid Haydn oratorio in February 2006. A critic wrote the following about the excellent concert: “The sections of the Purcell Choir create a texture that is substantial but allows the music to breathe, with their agile and healthy voices. And something that most non-period vocal ensembles are unable to do: they present greatness and evoke big forms in structure and extent without monumentalising. György Vashegyi conducted a Seasons that was well articulated, full of colours and contrasts, allowing full play for the dramatic elements and liveliness, emphasising what is the work’s principal speciality and at the same time its greatest attraction: the popular flavours imbuing the mood and character of the composition.”
And how does the conductor see this attractive composition? “A big question of the period music movement in past decades was, once the almost “magic” threshold of 1800 has been crossed, whether there is and can be a justification and purpose for performing the later repertoire on original period instruments or copies. For us in Hungary the first milestone in this area was the performance of Joseph Haydn’s oratorio The Seasons at Fertőszentmiklós in 2003. In this work the composer, who was sixty-eight in 1800 and who had spent his youth immersed in late Baroque music, drew with an amazingly sure hand, in fact foreshadowed the emerging Romanticism, right up to the art of Wagner.”
Prices: 6500, 5500, 3500, 1500 HUF

April 3rd
Palace of Arts - Béla Bartók National Concert Hall, 7:45 pm
Sibelius: The Oceanides – symphonic poem, op. 73
Prokofiev: Piano concerto No. 2 in G minor, op. 16
Schumann: Symphony No. 3 (Rhenish ) in E flat major, op. 97
Conductor: Sir Andrew Davis
With: Jean-Efflam Bavouzet – piano
The guest conductor of the Festival Orchestra will be the extremely versatile Sir Andrew Davis. He is equally at home in Baroque, Romantic, Viennese classic and contemporary music. For years he was the artistic director of the famous Glyndebourne Opera Festival, currently he is music director of the Chicago Opera House and artistic consultant to the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. He has appeared with practically all the leading international orchestras, from the Berlin Philharmonic through the Concertgebouw Orchestra to the Chicago Symphony.
He will accompany Jean-Efflam Bavouzet in Prokofiev’s second piano concerto.
Prices: 9900, 8900, 7500, 6500, 4500, 2500 HUF

Sir Andrew Davis © Jim Four

April 4th
Academy of Music, 7:30 pm
Haydn: Symphony in G minor (La Poule), Hob. I:83
Gluck: “Che faro’ senza Euridice” (aria from Orfeo ed Euridice, Act III)
Mozart: “Mi tradi’ quell’alma ingrata” (recitative and aria from Don Giovanni, Act II)
Mozart: “Parto, parto” (aria from La Clemenza di Tito, Act I)
Haydn: Symphony in C Major (L'Ours), Hob. I:82
Violinist and conductor Jean-Christophe Spinosi was born in Corsica, in 1991, at the age of 26, he founded the Matheus Quartet. In 1993 the ensemble won a prize at the Amsterdam Van Wassanae Competition. This quartet later became the core of the Ensemble Matheus with which he could try his musical talent in all genres, from concertos to operas, from symphonies to masses. He has worked together with renowned soloists, among others partnering Sandrine Piau, Veronica Cangemi, Matthias Goerne, Philippe Jaroussky, Marie-Nicole Lemieux, Nathalie Stutzmann, Jennifer Larmore, Sara Mingardo, Marjana Mijanovoic. His recordings have won many prizes. In summer 2008 in Vienna he conducted the Magic Flute in the Theater an der Wien. In Budapest he will accompany Susan Graham, one of the brightest opera stars and “America’s favourite mezzo”. The artist was voted singer of the year in 2004 by Musical America, and Midland, Texas (where she spent her childhood) has declared September 5 “Susan Graham Day”.
Prices: 9500, 7500, 5500, 3500 HUF

April 4th
Thália Theatre, 7:30 pm
Haydn: Seven Last Words, Hob. XX:1–7
Schoenberg: Five orchestral pieces, op. 16
Conductor: Balázs Kocsár
With: Philharmonic Orchestra of Debrecen, Kodály Choir of Debrecen
Prices: 4000, 3000 HUF

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