Budapest Festival Orchestra
Concert serie

Bridging Europe

The Baltics and Poland in the spotlight

The Baltics and Poland as never seen before: The Bridging Europe festival is coming to Müpa Budapest again from 16 September

This year, the Bridging Europe festival (co-organised by the Budapest Festival Orchestra and Müpa Budapest), will focus on the Baltics – namely Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – and Poland. For the sixth time since its launch, the Festival will bring audiences a selection of works from countries with intriguing cultural values, featuring classical and popular music concerts given by superstars, extraordinary exhibitions, unique literature events and symposia from 16 to 26 September.

How many people are there who know how jeans were actually invented? Or that Lithuania was the first to announce its independence among the members of the USSR? And many have no clue that Estonia gave the world one of the most frequently performed composers of our time. Even those who consider themselves familiar with the culture of Poland and the Baltics will find many novelties in the Bridging Europe event series, organised for the 6th time since its launch, with a variety of genres from classical and world music through literature to folk art.

The festival opens on 16 September with a rare musical treat: celebrated pianist Piotr Anderszewski will perform with the renowned Sinfonia Varsovia of his home town at the Béla Bartók National Concert Hall, and, in addition to Polish and Baltic masterpieces of the 20th century, treat audiences to a Hungarian rarity.

The Budapest Festival Orchestra will also demonstrate its versatility and prove that it is equally at home in all musical periods. On 21, 22 and 24 September, they will be playing works from some truly outstanding composers with Baltic roots. Iván Fischer is a good friend of Arvo Pärt, one of today’s most frequently played composers. He has veritable cult status, and his works has been featured in over one hundred films. The BFO will play two of them. The eventful life of the composer will be presented in a fascinating exhibition at the foyer during the festival. The symphonic piece of Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis takes the listener to a fairy tale forest, meanwhile the audience can enjoy his curious paintings projected on the wall. Like Pärt, Pēteris Vasks is also attracted to minimalism – a distinctive feature of his Epifania featured in the concert is that it has been composed for strings only.

What is the magic of the northern lights all about? What are the Estonians like when they feel passionate? These questions will all be answered on 25 September at the Bridging Europe festival’s contemporary concert, which features fascinating rarities, and could have no better conductor in charge of the orchestra than the Estonian Olari Elts. On the 26th, the Baroque ensemble of the BFO will take the listener back to a magical musical era, performing pieces little-known to Hungarian audiences alongside the works of Johann Sebastian Bach. Bach’s pieces will also be featured at the concert given in memoriam of the Polish violin virtuoso, Henryk Szeryng, who was born 100 years ago. The Hungarian Kristóf Baráti and the Polish Jakub Jakowicz will take turn playing what is considered a violinists’ Bible – three solo sonatas and partitas each.

There are also real treats awaiting jazz and world music enthusiasts, including a true rarity performed by 4 Pianos, a quartet that assembled for the 40th anniversary of the launch of the Jazz Juniors competition that jumpstarted the career of leading Polish Jazz musicians. A leading saxophonist of the Lithuanian Jazz scene, Petras Vysniauskas, will present the best of his country’s folk art with the grand dame of Lithuanian folk music Veronika Povilioniene. The music of Estonian pianist and singer Maarja Nuut and electronic musician Hendrik Kaljujärv mixes genres in a similarly unusual way, with the Estonian folk music of the first half of the 20th century and today’s high tech being equally important influences. One thing is for sure: it promises to be a uniquely moving performance that is impossible to label, full of visual elements. The concert by the Polish Warsaw Village Band promises to be similarly exciting, combining archaic folk instruments with Dub-style electronics and hip hop with great ease. Those who like popular music will enjoy the joint concert by “indie pop fairies” Sus Dungo and the Lithuanian Golden Parazyth, while an evening programme featuring the works of one of the most famous Polish writers, Witold Gombrowicz, will delight literature fans.

In addition to the already-mentioned Arvo Pärt exhibition, there will be a unique installation consisting of 80 video screens commemorating the appointment of world-famous pianist Ignacy Jan Paderewski to prime minister by public consensus at the time of the creation of the Second Polish Republic. What’s more, there will be an interesting exhibition featuring Latvia’s traditional clothing, while a photo exhibition will present the famous songfest of Lithuania, the “land of songs”. There will also be free concerts at the Atrium and free screenings at the Auditorium.

Bridging Europe festival is the joint production of the Budapest Festival Orchestra and Müpa Budapest.
Bridging Europe