On August 15, classical music will fill the night in the city center of Debrecen for the third time, organized by the Kodály Philharmonic. The event, held in the main square, entertained a crowd of ten thousand in 2019. In this year’s ‘Night of the Classics’ there will be another major concert in the main square with the participation of Kossuth Prize-winning pianist János Balázs and prize-winning harpist Andrea Vigh with the Kodály Philharmonic who will honor the memory of the great Hungarian pianist György Cziffra. The event is midway into the debut of the 10-day Debrecen Music Festival.
Maestro Dániel Somogyi-Tóth, director and artistic director of the Kodály Philharmonic, said that they are preparing for an unusual evening, as four high-level events will happen on the evening of August 15, beginning with the Night of the Classics and the György Cziffra Memorial Year concert, with other shows following until midnight. The Debrecen Music Festival, in its first season, is expected to draw Debrecen to an even more emphatically high position on Hungary’s arts and culture map. One of the gems of this year’s programs is the concert in memory of the great pianist György Cziffra, which starts at 8:30 pm on August 15.
István Puskás, Deputy Mayor for Cultural Affairs of the City of Debrecen, explained that the 100th anniversary of the birth of Cziffra is being celebrated as part of Hungary’s official György Cziffra Memorial Year, and that the UNESCO international organization has also included its lineup of celebrations. The programs of the György Cziffra Memorial Year are contained in the framework of a unique professional collaboration at home and abroad under the artistic direction of pianist János Balázs, with many domestic and foreign partners co-organizing the events. Deputy Mayor Puskás expressed his joy that this concert for the Year of Remembrance will take place in Debrecen, when we can simultaneously remember Cziffra as an important figure of our national culture, and who is also an important global cultural figure of the 20th century.
This year’s Night of the Classics is part of the 1st Debrecen Music Festival, which starts on August 10, during which music, theater and opera will be the main events in the civic center for ten days. Dr. Dániel Vadász, the director of the festival, said that it is an uplifting feeling to be here in Debrecen today after many, many conversations and long planning, waiting for the “curtain to roll up”, i.e., the programs to start.
Coopera, as the main organizer, has been cooperating closely with the cultural institutions of Debrecen for many years. In order to implement the festival, which in turn support the city, it has partnered with local institutions with a long history, such as the Kodály Philharmonic. Dr. Vadász added that this particular offering of music, theater and opera presentations will expand Hungary’s cultural life, and the culture of the Debrecen region will also be enriched, year by year. He was especially pleased that the Festival was able to celebrate and honor both the György Cziffra Memorial Year and the Kodály Philharmonic.
János Balázs, the artistic director of the György Cziffra Memorial Year, expressed that it was a great thing for the government to commemorate a performer. The commemorative year is made possible with the support of the Prime Minister’s Office, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Ministry of Human Resources with the help of Gábor Bethlen Fund Management.
Mr. Balázs expressed his joy that there will finally be a concert in front of the audience in Debrecen again, and he also talked about the importance of the open space, which allows artists to bring music closer to the people. He said that Debrecen is a special jewel of Hungarian culture, and he has very good memories of the local audience. He also mentioned the choice of program for the concert: Rachmaninoff’s 2nd Piano Concerto will be performed first, a work which he had performed under the baton of Cziffra’s conductor son. Since György Cziffra lived a significant part of his life in France, they have also selected to play works by Claude Debussy with harpist Andrea Vigh (the rector of the Liszt Academy of Music), as well as music by Miklós Rózsa, a Hungarian musician who is almost forgotten in Hungary, but is nevertheless world-famous.
Harpist Vigh also sent her statement to the press conference: “György Cziffra’s genius and virtuoso piano playing still amazes his audiences. For the series of Cziffra 100th anniversary concerts, it will be an honor and an uplifting experience to perform Debussy’s ‘Two Dances,’ a true gem of harp literature and a huge musical and technical challenge for the performer. With this, I would like to pay tribute to the art and unique life of György Cziffra, one of the extraordinary talents in the history of the Academy of Music. It is a special pleasure for me to be able to say, without exaggeration, that on this special evening with János Balázs, the founder of the Cziffra Festival and today, that I can perform with the worthy successor of the Cziffra heritage and with the Kodály Philharmonic in Debrecen.”
- English editing by A.S.Ivanoff