News Kurtág 98: festive concert at BMC

KURTÁG 98 – születésnapi koncert
Budapest Music Center, Koncertterem
2024. február 19. hétfő 19:00

Hiromi Kikuchi - violin
Miklós Lukács – cimbalom
Balázs Szokolay Dongó – recorder, kaval, saxophone
Zvoane Bănățene Academic Group of Traditional Music

György Kurtág's musical thinking is shaped not only by his profound knowledge of the classical music tradition, but also by his familiarity with Hungarian and Romanian folk music. Kurtág encountered folk melodies as a child in his immediate environment, and absorbed them during his studies at the Academy of Music, through the works of Béla Bartók and György Ligeti as well. Folk music as a source of inspiration often emerges as blurred fragments in his pieces, as the title 'fragments from a Kolinda's memory' in Book III of the Games indicates. In this concert, on Kurtág's 98th birthday, we will recall the music of his childhood with the help of two ensembles and also get to hear one of his own compositions.

The opening piece will be Hipartita – dedicated to and performed by violinist Hiromi Kikuchi whose name the title refers to. In this work for solo violin, sight, motion and gesture are especially important. In the concert, eleven music stands form a semicircle occupying almost the full length of the stage, and during the performance the violinist moves along the entire line. This wandering from station to station was originally supposed to avoid page-turning, but – in the most Kurtagian manner – also endows the piece with a special acoustic sense and symbolic meanings.

Miklós Lukács and Balázs Szokolay Dongó have put together their duo programme especially for this occasion, featuring excerpts from Béla Bartók's works and folk music collections – including Romanian folk dances – as well as folk melodies from Gyimes and Moldavia, and the two artists' own folk-inspired compositions and improvisations.

In the second half of the concert, the Zvoane Bănățene ensemble, whose singers and instrumentalists are familiar with folk music from all ethnographic regions of Romania, will perform a very wide repertoire: folk melodies from Banat, Oltenia, Transylvania, Bihar, and folk music collected in the 1930-1980s.

Tickets are available for 3000 HUF on the spot, and online at

Photo: István Huszti / BMC