Classical Music Programme Calendar Highlights
We have set ourselves an elusive goal: for Veszprém to be the city with proportionally the highest number of musicians and singers in Hungary. Veszprém was awarded the UNESCO City of Music title in 2019; and since then, it has been working every day to be worthy of that honour.
We are building from the bottom up; starting by providing musical experiences that have appeal for the youngest children to professionals in training. Furthermore, we provide inspiring venues for amateur orchestras, and secure unique educational and community opportunities for both young and old.
Music here is not something happening to us, it is happening with us.
The Veszprém-Balaton 2023 European Capital of Culture is jam-packed with classical music programmes throughout the year – not just in Veszprém; but also scattered among the 116 participating towns and villages in the region at both traditional and non-traditional venues. Below are some highlights, but more can be seen under the MusicCity Cluster on our webpage or by downloading our free app to follow the 3000 various programmes throughout the year.
- 27-31 May: MusiColours
- 27 May: Vallis Musicalis (A Valley Full of Music in the Heart of the Bakony) - Organum Ensemble Concert (FR)
- 28 May: Vallis Musicalis (A Valley Full of Music in the Heart of the Bakony) - Organum Ensemble Workshop (FR)
- 28 May: Tudor Era Church Music - Gemma Ensemble (HU)
- June 1-4: Dalvölgy (Song Valley)
- 1 July: Vallis Musicalis (A Valley Full of Music in the Heart of the Bakony) - Vivaldi and his Contemporaries - flutist Bálint Kovács (HU) and the Simplicissimus Chamber Ensemble (HU), and music historian Zsombor Németh (HU).
- 7 July: Mahler’s Symphony No. 8
- 12-16 July: VeszprémFest
- 17-26 July: Veszprém Early Music Days
- 1-6 August: Auer Fesztival
- 20 August: Vallis Musicalis (A Valley Full of Music in the Heart of the Bakony) - Händel’s Messiah – Munich Bach Chorus (DE), Orlando Ensemble (DE), Budapest Bach Consort
- 22 September: Vallis Musicalis (A Valley Full of Music in the Heart of the Bakony) - St. Gellert Festival (Szeged) Baroque Chamber Concert (HU)
- 23 September: Vallis Musicalis (A Valley Full of Music in the Heart of the Bakony) - Odhecaton Ensemble (IT) Concert and Bakonybél Chorus Academy
- 24 September: Vallis Musicalis (A Valley Full of Music in the Heart of the Bakony) - St. Gellert Festival (Szeged) Baroque Chamber Concert (HU)
- 10-14 October: David Popper X. International Cello Competition
- 18-22 October: Chaconne Festival ‘A Thousand Shades of Music’ and an International Convention of Violin Makers and Instrument Exhibition
Mini Carnegie Hall. Regular performances from April in St. Imre Square, Veszprém.
Where can the youngest musical talents of Veszprém give concerts if they are bored of music school concerts? Let's build a tiny concert hall for them, modelled on the world's most famous - with dazzling lights, stage curtains and glitter...In a prominent, yet quiet place in the city, on a mini stage, which is as big as the 'biggest' ones - young, and even very young music students in tiny dinner jackets and mini gowns take the stage in front of a large audience. This project combines two priorities: music education and helping to realise the great dream of every music student: to see their ‘name in lights’, and to play on the podium of the world's most famous concert hall under the spotlight in front of an audience of thousands of people.
MusiColours. An unforgettable rendezvous of youth choirs and musical ensembles ages 12-25 from across Europe at the picturesque location where Lake Balaton, ‘the Hungarian Sea’, meets the romantic Bakony Hills. Our first and most important task is to make classical music more accessible to everyone. We recognise that it is particularly important to create opportunities for active youth ensembles and choirs to meet and perform. What better opportunity could there be to inspire and encourage these talented young musicians from across the continent than a European youth music festival in the land of Kodály and Bartók, in the city of Auer, and in a UNESCO City of Music? MusiColours not only refers to the different styles of music, but also the diverse range of participants from different countries. We believe that the essence of music, however diverse, is that it brings us together and is understandable by all. Each participating group will give at least 2 concerts at different venues.
Vallis Musicalis. Over the past years and decades, Bakonybél has quietly grown from a spiritual and intellectual centre to also be an important regional cultural centre. Nationally renowned artists and performers regularly perform at the monastery. We would like to make major church festivals, such as Advent, Holy Week, Easter and Pentecost more tangible and profound by bringing together the best Hungarian and international ensembles. The series of concerts, which began at Advent 2021, will continue with six concerts in 2023.
Mahler’s Symphony No. 8. A monumental work by Mahler performed by thousands of instrumentalists and singers! The 'thousands' in this case is not a poetic exaggeration. At the 1910 premiere, 1030 musicians took the stage. On 7 July 2023 we will try to live up to the task...The orchestra and choir of the Hungarian State Opera, along with eight singing soloists will form the core, together with local adult and youth choirs, and choirs from Veszprém and its sister cities. Mahler, who was artistic director and chief conductor of the Royal Hungarian Opera from 1888 to 1891, wrote of his work to his Dutch conductor friend: ‘Imagine the whole universe starts singing and making music. It is no longer human voices, but suns and celestial bodies revolving around each other’.
Auer Fesztival. Veszprém is Leopold Auer's hometown - this is a source of pride but also a responsibility.
Veszprém and the Mendelssohn Chamber Orchestra will pay tribute to the oeuvre of world-famous violinist and Veszprém native Leopold Auer (1845-1930) with an international music festival. Auer was also one of the most influential pedagogical figures of 20th century violin music. The festival is unique in that it not only attracts high-class performers; but it also builds bridges with the musical and cultural life of Veszprém; with the artists and young people who work and create here; and with young music students. Thus, the Veszprém-based Mendelssohn Chamber Orchestra is not only the resident orchestra of the festival, but also a partner of the world-famous artists who come here. The festival invites and introduces young Hungarian and foreign artists who are on the brink of a great career and have won international competitions. The 'Auer Academy' - an international master class series - is also part of the festival. The Academy offers young musicians the opportunity to study and perform with professionals. In 2023, the festival will not only offer concerts during the usual summer season, but will also offer chamber music, chamber opera and contemporary music year-round. The festival will continue to be centred in Veszprém, but will also have a regional presence with concerts in various open-air, historic and other non-traditional venues. Since 2015, one of the main aims of the festival has been to bring world-famous artists to Auer's native city. In past years, the festival audiences have heard, among others: Gidon Kremer, Maxim Vengerov, Vadim Repin, Mischa Maisky, the Borodin String Quartet, Yuri Bashmet, Vadim Gluzman, Zoltán Kocsis, Kristóf Baráti, Erika Miklósa, Péter Frankl, Tamás Vásáry, Barnabás Kelemen, Dezső Ránki, the Keller Quartet, the Kodály Quartet, the Auer Trio; as well as jazz and popular musicians Mark O'Connor, Gilles Apap, Kálmán Oláh, Mihály Borbély, Roby Lakatos, Aleksey Igudesman, Jánoska Ensemble, Klezmatics, Félix Lajkó and János Balázs.
David Popper X. International Cello Competition. Founded by world-famous Hungarian cellist Csaba Onczay, 2023 will mark the 20th anniversary of the internationally renowned cello competition. Onczay will also be one of the jury members. This outstanding cultural experience will take place in Várpalota.
18-22 October: Chaconne Festival ‘A Thousand Shades of Music’ and an International Convention of Violin Makers and Instrument Exhibition. Everyone thinks of the last movement of the same title in Bach's violin score in D minor when they hear the word ‘Chaconne’. However, chaconne is a single word under which classical, contemporary, modern, early, popular and classical, old and new form a family... a thousand shades of music. Although the boundaries of the chaconne as a musical principle extend far beyond the era of early music, Veszprém's festival will focus on the Baroque; an architectural period that played a lasting and decisive role in the city's architectural history. World-famous baroque music performers such as Il Giardino Armonico; a new jazz quintet inspired by the chaconne form featuring young Hungarian Hammond organist Mátyás Premecz; and Viktoria Mullova, perhaps the best-known interpreter of Bach's Chaconne in D minor; will perform together with popular music or Hungarian contemporary dance productions. Solo, vocal, orchestral and chamber ensembles will perform from an inexhaustible Baroque chaconne repertoire for a wide variety of instruments, including improvisational jazz.
Given that the chaconne was in vogue in the Baroque when string instruments took on their present form, and that it was the period when the most famous violin-making dynasties: Amati, Guarneri and Stradivari were active, we dreamed up an International Instrument Makers' Convention and Exhibition as an organic complement to the Chaconne Festival with Veszprém-based master violin maker Elemér Sümegi. Performances will take place at several venues around Veszprém.
Dalvölgy (Song Valley) gives the public a unique concert experience when minority amateur choirs from Hungarian and the Carpathian Basin meet. There has never been a similar choral event in Veszprém, or even in Hungary. In addition to promoting, cultivating and passing on musical literature, choirs act as cultural communities that are important identity-building actors in their localities. The pandemic conditions of recent years have had a particularly negative impact on choirs: their numbers, activities and community events have been. In many cases, their long-term viability has been jeopardised. These are the trends Song Valley will try to counterbalance during 4 days in June. Choirs from Veszprém and villages in the Bakony-Balaton region will welcome visitors from far away. The concerts and thematic workshops to compile new music books; add works by contemporary composers to the choral repertoire; and conduct courses to find creative solutions to new cultural; community and mental challenges concerts will be open to the public.
VeszprémFest, one of Europe’s premier music festivals, is celebrating its 20th birthday with its most ambitious and diverse programme ever. Two venues - five days - seven world class performers in Veszprém, the ‘City of Queens’! Alvaro Soler, Mariza, Anna Netrebko and Yusif Eyvazov, Joss Stone, and Norah Jones will all give concerts on the main stage in the História Garden, while Andrea Rost will perform four different productions on four different days in the Jesuit Churchyard. FULL PROGRAMME
Top-class performers who have appeared at the festival in recent years include Lisa Stansfield, Gregory Porter, Jamie Cullum, Emeli Sandé, Roger Hodgson, Kool and the Gang, Katie Melua, Vaya Con Dios, Diana Krall, José Cura, Nigel Kennedy, Al Di Meola, Paco de Lucia, Zoltán Kocsis, Richard Bona, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Joe Zawinul, Jan Garbarek, Andrea Rost, Erika Miklósa, The Gypsy Kings, Candy Dulfer, Gilberto Gil, George Benson, Buena Vista Social Club featuring Omara Portuondo, and Craig David.