I am not exaggerating when I say that, whatever I achieved as a musician, I owe more to Leó Weiner than to anyone else. ... To me, he remains an outstanding example of what a musician should be.

Sir Georg Solti

President's Greetings

For me, the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music is the sanctuary of music. When I sit in the Grand Hall and look upon the ceiling covered with golden bay leaves or when I listen to music in the Solti Hall radiant with grandeur, I am in such awe the like of which one can only feel in old cathedrals. It is palpable even for those who are not believers. But actually, all who enter the building of the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music, teachers, students or the audience of performances, are believers. They believe in music. They believe in the elevating power of music, in the miracle occurring on the concert stage day after day, which our students are taught to create.

Of course, miracles cannot be taught, but we can raise talented musicians. And from this aspect the foundations of our institute are crucial: the founder and the first president of our Academy was Ferenc (Franz) Liszt, one of the most versatile and talented composers of the 19th century. And among those institutions which are named after him all around the world, this is the only one he actually founded. As a pianist, Liszt was the guardian of the great classical tradition, and at the same time he was a progressive and forward-looking composer. Our task can be described in similar terms: transmitting the classical heritage and promoting new efforts, new compositions, new ideas, new initiatives.

The Academy’s own tradition is intact, our teachers have their own genealogy. The professors of the piano faculty studied from the students of Liszt’s students; the violin teachers trace their artistic lineage back to Jenő Hubay, and those who study chamber music can easily feel the aura of Leó Weiner. In our past one can find the future, too, since many of the great vanguard composers of the 20th century were our students and teachers: Kodály and Bartók, Ligeti, Kurtág and Eötvös were linked in so many ways to the Academy. And if we take a look at the performing arts, the picture is no less flattering: from Ernő Dohnányi and Tamás Vásáry to the great generation of Kocsis, Ránki and Schiff, many legendary pianists of the 20th century started their career here. We can also mention great violinists such as József Szigeti, Sándor Végh or György Pauk and, of course, there are the conductors from George Solti to Antal Doráti who played a determining role in 20th century North American symphonic performances. The list could be continued with singers, wind instrumentalists etc.

Our music training is quite unique: students are admitted to the preparatory class of exceptional young talents from the age of ten; the vast majority of our instrumental and theoretical lessons are private or in small groups; we offer master classes at all of our departments (also in English); and our Doctoral School awards PhD (for musicologists) and DLA (for performers) degrees in music. In the course of its history, the Academy has welcomed students from more than forty countries, and every school year approximately every fifth student is from abroad. We are proud that according to global educational surveys, the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music is consistently among the top 30 performing arts universities in the world.

By 2013 our main building, one of the wonderful examples of Art Nouveau architecture first built in 1907, had been completely renovated and today it literally shines again in its original splendour. Since the renovation, our Academy is not only the home of educational activities but it also serves as a concert centre where our teachers and talented students have become well-known performers of Budapest’s concert life, and they regularly share the stage with world-famous musicians.

We are privileged and deeply honoured that the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music was awarded the Europa Nostra Prize in 2015 and the European Heritage Award in 2016. But for us, the greatest measure of appreciation is the love and loyalty of our audience and students, and also the familial atmosphere among our teachers, from assistant lecturers to emeritus professors.

Dr. Andrea Vigh, President of the Liszt Academy