The Liszt Ferenc Zeneművészeti Egyetem—or the Franz Liszt Academy of Music—is a treasure. Founded in 1875, this Budapest-based educational and cultural institution hides in plain sight: near the international urban hub of the Octagon and right off a popular café-laden square—the Liszt Ferenc tér. (Go figure.)
Since its founding, it has been cultivating the talent of soon-to-be world renowned composers, conductors, classical instrumentalists, vocalists, and music specialists. And performance-related majors must be tested, which translates into public performances—for free. I attended one of those “exams” earlier this week—a conducting diploma concert. The conductor led a 60 piece orchestra through a two hour concert, and it was splendid. It was at the same level of any other professional performance I’ve attended, whether in Vienna, Berlin, or New York.
Even the building matches the grandeur of the music. The majesty of the Grand Hall practically insists that the performances rise to the same level. And I have no doubt that my experience is representative of the talent fostered in the Academy. While it was my first concert, it won’t be my last.
Somehow I only recently learned about the Academy and its concerts, which are varied and not limited to student performances. Many of the offerings have a fee, but it’s nominal considering what’s being offered.
If you’re a music lover in Budapest, make sure the Liszt Academy is on your to-do list. You won’t be disappointed.