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Budapest Overture: announcing the winner of the composers’ competition by the BFO and the Municipality of Budapest


Budapest Overture: announcing the winner of the composers’ competition by the BFO and the Municipality of Budapest

Junior Prima award winner Patrik Oláh has been awarded first place in the joint competition for composers announced jointly by the Budapest Festival Orchestra and the Municipality of Budapest. Second place was awarded to composer and music editor Gyula Bánkövi, with Apor Szüts, known also for his appearance in the show Virtuosos, coming in third. The Budapest Festival Orchestra will premiere the winning submission, the Budapest Overture, at a major concert on September 2. The free event, to be held outdoors in Heroes’ Square, will pay tribute to the 150th birthday of the capital. Budapest Mayor Gergely Karácsony, managing director of the Budapest Festival Orchestra Orsolya Erdődy and composer-conductor László Tihanyi, chair of the jury, presented certificates to the composers of the three best submissions on June 10 at the Liszt Academy.

An important aim of the competition for composers was for submissions to appropriately evoke the 150-year-old Budapest, the unification of the three cities and the complex cultural-historical-urban identity of the capital. In terms of genre, the entries were classical music pieces for orchestra, festive overtures. László Tihanyi, chair of the jury, described the competition and the submissions received:

“It was a noble, beautiful gesture for the Municipality of Budapest and the Budapest Festival Orchestra to announce a competition for composers on the 150th anniversary of the unification of the city, and invite submissions of new orchestral works symbolizing the capital through contemporary approaches to music. The fact that almost 40 entries were submitted shows that the opportunity set the imagination of composers in motion. It was not easy to make a decision, as the pieces submitted reflected different approaches, styles and ways of thinking on the part of the composers; we also had to take into consideration the special nature of the exercise. It is reassuring that the jury ultimately reached a near-unanimous decision. For my part, I sincerely hope that the capital and aficionados of artistic music will find the new piece valuable and enriching.”

First place in the open competition, with submissions entered under a motto, went to Patrik Oláh, for his piece entered under the motto “Fusion – ‘off-white.’” Oláh is a Junior Prima award winning composer who has achieved prominent results in a number of national and international competitions; elements of Roma music provide the foundations for his works. The 2021 International Eucharistic Congress included the premiere of a mass composed by Oláh, the first piece of the genre in the Lovari language in the history of music literature, with the text approved personally by Pope Francis.

Second place was awarded to composer Gyula Bánkövi, winner of the Ferenc Erkel and Béla Bartók–Ditta Pásztory awards. A senior editor for MTVA, he submitted his entry under the motto “Budapest-Horizon – 2023.” Following his graduation as a composer, he continued his studies at the Liszt Academy, specializing in music direction and editing. He then joined Bartók Rádió, where he currently works as a program editor while also being in charge of contemporary music and a number of shows (Lemezelő, Hang-fogó). His works place special emphasis on electroacoustics, and he is interested in the special spatial arrangements of musical processes, new instruments and unusually exciting sounds.

Third place was awarded to conductor, pianist and composer Apor Szüts, pianist and composer of the Budafok Dohnányi Orchestra, for his submission entered under the motto “Budapest Festival Overture – ‘to me it’s my birthplace.’” Szüts achieved national prominence with his appearance on the classical music talent search competition Virtuosos. In 2014, he received the Talent award at the opera-writing competition of the Miskolc International Opera Festival, for his opera entitled The Surgeon of Halle. In 2020, he was awarded a special prize at the string quartet composition competition of the World Bartók Competition; in 2022, he won first place at the international composers’ competition of the Vienna Classical Music Academy. Earlier, he appeared regularly on the MTVA informational series Tuning Fork, as András Batta’s musical illustrator.

The jury of the competition was comprised of composer-conductor László Tihanyi; music historian Zoltán Farkas, director of the Bartók Memorial House; and composer-conductor Zsolt Serei. Winners of the competition receive prize money.