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6th International Béla Bartók Piano Competition Szeged


December 06, 2013

6th Szeged International Béla Bartók Piano Competition

Competition Announcement

The Music Department of the University of Szeged is pleased to announce the 6th International Béla Bartók Piano Competition, to be held between March 25-30, 2014. The competition will take place in Szeged (Hungary), at the Ferenc Fricsay Concert Hall. (Szeged, Tisza Lajos krt. 79-81)

The goal of the competition is to provide an opportunity to piano students and young artists to showcase their talents in the city of Szeged, located near Béla Bartók’s birthplace – Nagyszentmiklós. The two cities have had an excellent partnership for years now and this competition mutually enriches their cultural ties. Our further vision besides nurturing musical talent is to present performance opportunity to the most worthy musicians.

The competition consists of three rounds. The preliminary and semi-final rounds are dedicated to solo works, while in the final round a concerto will be performed with orchestral accompaniment. In the first and second round the repertoire must include one selection from each category listed (a,b,c,d). A single piece or set of pieces should be chosen from the list under entry d).

With the exception of the compulsory composition in the semi-final round by Péter Tóth (Waltz without tonality), all pieces are to be performed by memory.


I. Preliminary round (max. 25 minutes)

a) one virtuoso Sonata by Scarlatti
b) one piece by Franz Liszt
c) selections from Bartók: For Children (Books I-IV)
d) one piece, or selections from the following Bartok pieces:
Fourteen Bagatelles, Op.6, BB 50 (selections)
Ten Easy Pieces, BB 51
Three Burlesques, Op. 8c, BB 55 (I., II., III., burlesque)
Allegro Barbaro, BB 63
Romanian Christmas Songs, BB 67 (I., II. set)
Romanian Folk Dances, BB 68
Sonatina, BB 69
Three Rondos on Folk Tunes, BB 92 (I., II., III. rondo)

II. Semi-final round (max. 35 minutes)

a) Waltz without tonality by Péter Tóth (Kontrapunkt Music Ltd - edition)
b) one Etude by Chopin, Rachmaninov, Skriabin, Prokofiev, Dohnányi or Ligeti
c) one piece or cycle by Debussy
d) one piece or selections from the following Bartók pieces:
Two Romanian Folk Dances, Op. 8a, BB 56 - 1. Allegro vivace
Two Romanian Folk Dances, Op. 8a, BB 56 - 2. Poco allegro
Suite, Op. 14, BB 70
Fifteen Hungarian Peasant Songs, BB 79
Studies, Op. 18, BB 81
Eights Improvizations on Hungarian Peasant Songs, Op. 20, BB 83
Sonata for Piano, BB 88
Out of Doors, BB 89 (I., II. book)
Mikrokosmos, BB 105, V., VI. book

III. Final round - choice of any one concerto from the following:

Mozart: Concerto in G Major, K. 453
Mozart: Concerto in d Minor, K. 466
Mozart: Concerto in C Major, K. 467
Mozart: Concerto in A Major, K. 488
Liszt: Concerto in A Major
Liszt: Concerto in E-flat Major
Liszt: Totentanz
Bartók: Piano Concerto No. 3


The concerto will be performed with the Szeged Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Sándor Gyüdi.
The gala concert will take place in Nagyszentmiklós, Romania, at the Nákó-Castle.

Panel of Judges:
György Nádor - Chairman of the Jury (HU) Professor Emeritus of Piano, the Franz Liszt Academy of Music, Budapest
Ferenc Kerek - pianist (HU) Head of Piano Department, University of Szeged Music Department
Károly Mocsári - international concert pianist (HU)
Felicia Stankovici - pianist (RO), Professor of the Temesvár Vest University Music Department
Boldizsár Csíky - composer (RO) Professor of the Marosvásárhely University Music Department



Competition rules and application procedures:

Applications are accepted from all countries by competitiors born after January 1, 1979.

1st,2nd and 3rd place winners of the 5th International Béla Bartók Piano Competition are not eligible to apply.


Application fee: 30.000 HUF

Bank Account number: 57400217-10117688 Fontana Credit Takarékszövetkezet

Liszt Ferenc Zeneművészeti Főiskola Szegedi Konzervatóriumának Alapítványa

IBAN HU84 5740 0217 1011 7688 0000 0000

Application fees are non-refundable in case of withdrawal from the competition for any reason.

Contestants are financially responsible for their own travel expenses and accommodation.


Application deadline: February 3, 2014.

application form

obligate piece: Péter Tóth: Hangnem nélküli keringő

The following documents must accompany your application:

- proof/confirmation of application fee payment

- passport size photo (1)

- list of selected repertoire

- short professional biography.


Please attach the completed application form and send it via email to Zoltán Kalmár, at

All participants should bring a valid passport to the competition.




1st Prize: 500.000 HUF  (cca. 2000 USA$)

2ndPrize: 400.000 HUF  (cca. 1600 USA $)

3rdPrize:  300.000HUF (cca. 1200 USA $)

Special Prizes:

100.000HUF (cca. 400 USA $)for the best competitior enrolled in the University of Szeged piano program.

  50.000HUF (cca. 200 USA $)for the best performance of the compulsory work by Péter Tóth.

Additional prizes and concert engagements will be awarded by the Jury as well.

The Judges reserve the right to rearrange the distribution of prizes.


The decision of the Jury is final and not subject to questions, revisions or any kind of (including legal) appeal.

All competition events may be broadcast and recorded by the media. By participating, contestants waive their rights to compensation for such audio and video recordings.

In case of disputes, the Hungarian law prevails.



Wishing all competitors an exciting preparation!

- the competition organizers -

A Short History


The Béla Bartók Piano Competition is organized for the sixth time, between 20 and 25 March, 2014. The event is named after Béla Bartók, one of the most outstanding figures of Hungarian and general music history, who was born in a town not far from Szeged. Bartók’s native town, Nagyszentmiklós is in the territory of present day Romania (and is called Sannicolau Mare in Romanian). Bartók had close ties to Szeged: after Budapest and Pozsony (or Bratislava, Slovakia) it was the third city where he concerted and visited the most.

The visionary of the piano competition was Ferenc Kerek, head of piano department and Dean of the Faculty of Music, University of Szeged, since 2000. One of the most important goals he set in his proposal for the Conservatorium’s (the Faculty’s precursor) dean’s position was to establish close ties with nearby Nagyszentmiklós, Bartók’s birthplace. It was his unshakeable faith that the cultural potential of the artists of Szeged and Csongrád county and the work of the musicians teaching at the Faculty of Music can help Nagyszentmiklós become the “Salzburg of the region”.

In the socialist era there were not many opportunities to commemorate Bartók in Romania. The first attempt was a photo exhibition in the fall of 1968: the opening was very quiet and very few people knew about it at all. We owe the exploration of details of the Bartók family’s life in Nagyszentmiklós to local history teacher Gyula Szőcs and his enthusiastic students.  Their carefully prepared event aiming to celebrate Bartók’s 100th birthday was cancelled by the authorities in the last minute. Thus, their Bartók exhibition in the Nákó Castle opened without any descendants of the Bartók family being present and also without any publicity. The results of their work is now thoroughly documented in János Szekernyés’s book Bartók and the Banat region published in Temesvár (Timisoara) (Solness Edition, 2006).

The founding of the Pro Bartók Society in 2000 by Nagyszentmiklós intellectuals Sándor Tamás, Éva Tamás, Zoltán Tamás, Mihály Ambrus, Attila Ambrus, Miklós Pap and Andrea Pap was a significant event marking considerable change in promoting Bartók’s legacy. Within a year, the newly formed Society was joined by University of Szeged professors Ferenc Kerek and Éva Fekete,  Vest University of Temesvár professors Mária Bodó and Felicia Stankovici, and Temesvár writer György Koczka. Several prominent figures of Hungarian academic and art life also became members of the Society. Its chairman, leading personality and benefactor Sándor Tamás asked Ferenc Kerek to help develop a concert life in Nagyszentmiklós. The first result of this cooperation was a highly successful concert held on 24 March, 2002 in the Nagyszentmiklós Nákó Castle. The event was honoured by the presence of the head of department of the Hungarian Ministry of National Cultural Heritage and representatives of Temes (Timis) county in Romania and Csongrád county in Hungary. As a donation by the Republic of Hungary a Bösendorfer piano was presented to the Society. Since then two or three concerts have been given by students and professors of the University of Szeged and Vest University of Temesvár annually. The local audience is very interested in, enthusiastic about and supportive of these events. As a very important feature of the concerts,, short presentations on the pieces to be played are given at each concert. In the experience of the organizers, introducing Bartók’s complicated and highly sophisticated compositions to the unprofessional concertgoers contributes to a better understanding and a more profound musical experience of them among the wider audience. It is their conviction that the presentations assist many to appreciate Bartók’s art.

The history of the Pro Bartók Society and that of the Szeged International Béla Bartók Piano Competition are intertwined. A competition in the homage of Bartók in the sites of Szeged and Nagyszentmiklós has been the result of a joint idea and a joint effort on the part of the two cities. As a result of the joint efforts, the competition takes place biennially in Szeged, with its most festive occurrence, the gala concert of the laureates, being held in the Nákó Castle in Nagyszentmiklós on 25 March, Bartók’s birthday. It was the piano competition’s gala concert here that opened the cycle of celebrations of the Bartók commemorative year in 2006.

The compulsory programme of the competition is always made up of pieces that Bartók himself often played in concerts: sonatas by Scarlatti, pieces by Debussy, Chopin and Liszt and piano concertos by Mozart. The three rounds of the competition represent a different kind of test for young musicians. This year, for the second time in the history of the competition, the second round requires the performance of a contemporary piece which was commissioned for the occasion. The  first such time participants of the competition played Tetraphony by Iván Madarász, while this year Máté Hollós’s Rhapsody written for the piano will be premiered. In the third round participants play concertos by Liszt, Bartók and Mozart accompanied by the Szeged Symphony Orchestra.

The jury has been different every time: it has been headed by pianists István Lantos, László Baranyay, Gergely Bogányi and Boldizsár Csiky in previous years, with Attila Némethy, Péter Flórián, Balázs Szokolay, Felicia Stankovici, Ferenc Kerek, and Klára Körmendi serving as members. The competition has gathered considerable renown in recent years. In addition to Hungarian participants from Hungary and the neighboring countries, musicians from Chile, China, Korea, Japan, the United Kingdom, Italy and Israel have joined the competition. Several of the laureates have since become international concerting artists. According to their own estimations voiced in interviews, the Szeged competition initiated by the Faculty of Music’s piano department has had a crucial impact on their lives in launching their international careers. The laureates have been welcome guests at their return visits in Szeged: several of them have been invited back to perform at the Faculty’s Fricsay Hall or at the Szeged Symphony Orchestra’s concerts. Of them, Dávid Báll (Hungary), Kaneko Miyuji (Japan), Andrei Banciu (Romania), Diána Szokolayné Szőke (Hungary), Noémi Utasi (Serbia), Enikő Görög (Serbia), Ernő Fehér (Hungary), Krisztina Fejes (Hungary), and Rinaldo Zhok (Italy) played in Szeged again, thus providing an opportunity for a wider local audience to hear these exceptionally talented young pianists play.

Winners of the competition have been Dávid Báll in 2004, Andrei Banciu and Zsófia Németh in 2006, Kaneko Miyuji in 2008, and Diána Szokolayné Szőke in 2010. The most successful representative of Szeged has been György Klebniczki, now an instructor at the Faculty of Music, who played Liszt’s Piano Concerto in E-flat Major in the final round of the competition.

The biennial competition attracts broad publicity. The renowned Hungarian music pedagogy periodical Parlano regularly provides detailed coverage. The Hungarian national Bartók Radio, Hungarian public Television, and the local TiszapART TV have broadcast numerous sound samples, interviews, and commentaries on the event over the years. The Szeged locals can follow the event through the articles published in Délmagyarország, the local daily paper, and all the rounds are archived on CD recordings.

The financial basis of the competition is provided by a wide range of sponsors. The main sponsors are Mr. Csaba Rák, owner of the Budapest Piano Salon, and Sándor Tamás, chairman of the Nagyszentmiklós Pro Bartók Society. Other regular sponsors include the National Cultural Fundation, the Municipality of Szeged, the University of Szeged and its Faculty of Music, and Artisjus, the Hugarian Association for Copyright Protection. Further sponsors are the Péczely Attila Music School (Hódmezővásárhely), the Elementary School for the Arts and Secondary School for Music (Makó), the Király-König Péter Music School (Szeged)and the Pro Musica School for the Arts (Szeged). The Hubay Society, the Liszt Ferenc Society and private individuals also provide contributions.

An important mission of the Béla Bartók Piano Competition organized in Szeged and Nagyszentmiklós is to bring Bartók’s work to a broader audience. “Sadly enough we have reached the point at the beginning of the 21th century when Bartók needs promotion, especially in Hungary” wrote Attila Némethy in Parlando when evaluating the launching of the event in 2004. He praised the efforts and intentions of the organizers by summing up the success of the fourth competition: “The Szeged piano competition has borne fruit, come of age, and surpassed all expectations. … there will be more and more people coming to it because they can try themselves in a contest of high standard and because the word is spreading that Béla Bartók’s legacy is being taken seriously in Szeged.” (Parlando, issue 4, 2010).


Dr Márta Gévayné Janurik

Associate Professor, Faculty of Music, University of Szeged