2020/2021 season tickets

“On the harmony of silence”


Dear music-lovers and concert-goers,


All of us often fear silence. It feels awkward in company when everyone falls silent at once. When we are alone, we frequently turn on the radio or television just so there is some kind of background sound. To avoid having silence around us.
There is a theory in the music world that silence is the death of music, its very negation.
But there is no truth to this! Silence – just like its musical equivalent, the rest – is a critical element of music. Melody, harmony and even rhythm are born out of silence.
Our recent weeks and months have passed in silence. We have been locked up in fear of an unknown virus. Empty concert halls have fallen silent, devoid of music. At the Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra, we have not sat on our hands during this necessary period of rest. Instead, we have taken advantage of it. We have been preparing, practising and studying, so that when music – one of the greatest gifts of human existence – can again be heard, we will be ready. And we will be ready to bring you unforgettable moments of pleasure. And we will be ready to do this now armed with all our ability, and perhaps even a little bit more wisely than before, because all of this solitary practice and studying has made us think. It has given us a chance to stop and ponder the events of recent years. Our values and achievements, our mistakes and wrong turns. We have had time to reconfirm our belief that music is something that allows us to make our world a better place and helps us to conquer our fears. That it is something that enables us to sing out our joys and sorrows, and to comfort those who have fallen.
It is with this hope that we offer you our 2020/21 season: as one of renewal and renewed faith in music. A period in which we can meet each other without fear, shake hands and once again share a common spirit. Just as after an extended rest in a musical score, when melody and rhythm emerge in harmony once again.
In this spirit, I would like to wish you carefree and cathartic moments of making and listening to music together.


With best wishes from a musician,

Zsolt Hamar
Music director of the Hungarian National Philharmonic

Two of the four concerts in the Hungarian National Philharmonic's Kocsis season ticket will be conducted by music director Zsolt Hamar. Taking the podium on the other two occasions will be world-famous violin phenomenon Maxim Vengerov and Denmark's Michael Schønwandt.
Joining them at the front of the stage will be soloists like Kristóf Baráti, a perennial favourite of the Hungarian audience who has achieved lofty heights internationally, the Turkish pianist Fazıl Say, an artist of extraordinary individuality whose thrilling virtuosity could be described as sorcery, and another local luminary from the Hungarian music scene: flutist János Bálint. Many of our guests will be delighted to learn that, at the first concert, they will once again be hearing the music of Bach, along with some new Hungarian music in the form of a work by László Dubrovay, as well as Kodály's Psalmus hungaricus, one of the noblest pieces our country's traditions have to offer. We will also present two "unfinished" works on a single night: Schubert's Eighth and Bruckner's Ninth. Another evening will be dedicated to Northern Europe, with pieces by Grieg, Sibelius and Nielsen. The final concert on the subscription will be a kind of Viennese-Parisian sandwich, with Mahler's Fifth as the filling.
The conflict between modernity and loyalty to tradition: this is what the first concert in the Hungarian National Philharmonic's Kobayashi season ticket is all about, with one piece by Schönberg, another by Rachmaninoff, and a third by Brahms. The next will address Czech nationalism and the Pan-Slavic movement with works by Smetana and Janáček, including the latter's rarely performed but highly esteemed Glagolitic Mass.
Next up will be a bout of classical nostalgia made up of works by Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev and Shostakovich – including such hits as Variations on a Rococo Theme and the Classical Symphony, followed by an exciting journey to the German and Austrian musical worlds of the late 19th and 20th centuries led by Erich Korngold and Richard Strauss. This last concert too will be one of rarities, in the form of Korngold's rarely heard Straussiana, a homage to the "waltz king", Johann Strauss, and Richard Strauss's Aus Italien, another "black swan" on orchestral programmes. And the soloists? Performing Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 3 will be the globally renowned Russian artist Olga Kern, while Tchaikovsky's graceful variations will be entrusted to the capable hands of Alexander Ramm. There is no need to introduce the soloist performing Korngold's Violin Concerto in D major: our own Barnabás Kelemen has long been a favourite with Hungarian audiences. Four different conductors will take the podium for these concerts, with Zsolt Hamar and Oliver von Dohnányi handling the first two performances, followed by Vladimir Spivakov, founder of the Moscow Virtuosi, and the enormously talented young German maestro Christoph Altstaedt.
Compiling the Ferencsik season ticket took painstaking work: subscribers will get to know masterpieces of the music literature – Schubert's final "Great" Symphony in No. 9 in C major, Schumann's Symphony No. 2, Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat minor, Haydn's "Military" Symphony No. 100 and Mozart's Mass in C minor – along with less frequently heard pieces that nevertheless have legitimate claims on listeners' attention.
These will include Luigi Cherubini's dramatic overture to Médée, Sibelius's Second Symphony, which simultaneously evokes the Kalevala, Finland’s endless forests and the Ligurian coast, and Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach's Hamburg Symphony, just to name a few. Unforgettable concert experiences are guaranteed by the presence of international stars like oboist and conductor François Leleux, who reveals every nuance of his instrument, cello master Miklós Perényi, Henrik Nánási, who twice led Berlin's Komische Oper to winning the title "Opera House of the Year", and Konrad Junghänel, the iconic figure of early music. Could anyone wish for anything more?
Vigadó Concert Hall, Ceremonial Hall
The Lukács season ticket is designed primarily for subscribers interested in the great diversity of Hungarian music. For those receptive to hearing rarities and with an interest in works that they have never heard or perhaps have never even heard of.
The compilers of the season ticket, however, have also assured that the programme will also not lack true audience draws like Franz Liszt's symphonic poem Tasso and his Piano Concerto in E-flat major, or Zoltán Kodály's Háry János and Concerto, and Ernst von Dohnányi's Suite in F-sharp minor. Deserving of special attention are those compositions for which it is high time to dust off their scores – such as Karl Goldmark's Rustic Wedding Symphony, which has previously been performed by great conductors like Thomas Beecham and Leonard Bernstein. The soloists – Ádám Balogh, Gergely Devich, Erika Gál, László Hadady, Zsolt Haja, Andrea Vigh and Szabolcs Zempléni – are luminaries of the Hungarian music world who have, almost without exception, also proved themselves on the international stage. The Lukács season ticket, therefore, offers audiences a comprehensive review of Hungarian music.
Vigadó Concert Hall, Ceremonial Hall
Dear Audience,

Though many things have been lost in these anxious times over the last few months, we have faithfully been preparing to meet again and, with our ensemble, to break the long silence forced on us by the epidemic.
I believe that the Hungarian National Choir’s Pászti season ticket concerts will represent a true rebirth.
The compositions of the programme, which primarily features oratorios alongside several a cappella choral works, are connected by specific conceptual and spiritual threads.
For our first concert, the opening piece will feature the special atmosphere of Frank Martin's oratorio In terra pax. The work – which is being performed in Hungary for the very first time – was created during World War Two. Now, in the current period, it will bring us a feeling of a new beginning after the coronavirus epidemic.
A yearning for higher spheres characterises both Schumann's Paradise and the Peri and Bartók's Cantata profana.
Alongside the performance of great classic works, the presentation of new Hungarian compositions is a major part of our mission. Which is why our programme will also feature, among other things, some remarkable new church-inspired works from Zoltán Kovács and Tamás Beischer-Matyó.
In addition to performing alongside the Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra, for the upcoming season the Hungarian National Choir has also invited three other major Hungarian ensembles: the Hungarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Hungarian State Opera Orchestra and the Capella Savaria.
Please join us for our thrilling concerts at the Vigadó Concert Hall!

Csaba Somos
Choirmaster of the Hungarian National Choir
Müpa Budapest, the Rehearsal Room of the Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra
In the open rehearsal room series – which has been a tradition with the Hungarian National Philharmonic for years – we invite the audience to visit the orchestra's rehearsal room. These concerts are special for the artists of both the National Philharmonic Orchestra and the National Choir, as they allow the musicians to establish a more direct connection with their listeners by performing pieces – that they themselves have selected – in chamber groups.
Müpa Budapest, Festival Theatre
In the next season of the Musicmania series, we are going to explore a single, highly significant, genre of music: the symphonic poem. But it will not be the famous pieces that we will be examining, but rather works by composers who are not heard in Hungary, but whose every single note contains a surprise.
This happens sometimes through their style and sometimes through their message. Other times, it might even be the forward-looking nature of their musical ideas or even the composer's lonely search owed to an astonishing final result.
We are omitting all of the traditionally "great" composers from the endless list of creators of symphonic poems. Although no one should count on hearing the music of Liszt or Richard Strauss, they can depend on encountering works by everyone who helped develop, expand and sustain this genre. Our composers willl include Camille Saint-Saëns, César Franck, Alexander Glazunov, Jean Sibelius, Arthur Honegger, Bohuslav Martinů, Jacques Ibert, Carl Nielsen and Anatoly Lyadov. Each and every one of them was a dazzling symphonist of an era brimming with talent who enriched the colourful palette of music history with unique tones. Now is the time to overrule our elitist judgements and get to know the masterpieces mistakenly classified as "less interesting" that these composers wrote.

Dániel Dinyés