“I had a firsthand experience of Hungarian musicians playing Bartók”

Why did you apply for this course?

I primarily applied because of professor Zsolt Hamar, as I have been following his career, and secondly because of the compositions. I have already studied the Concerto in the course of Gábor Hollenburg, but I was interested in the interpretation of professor Zsolt Hamar and in the way he teaches young conductors, and also in working together with the Savaria Simphony Orchestra. Luckily I wasn’t disappointed, because our professor had some great observations, he gave excellent instructions, and on the whole, musical excellence is a priority for him.

I have mainly come because of the compositions. I was eager to find out how the difficult parts of these Bartók compositions were dealt with by other students. This is a lot more complex job than conducting a Haydn symphony. I have already been here five years ago and I really liked it, so I decided to come back.

How did you feel yourself at the course?

Very well, good atmosphere, the professor is very direct. The orchestra is very open and patient with the practising conductors, this is crucial at a conducting course. We are also kept up to date with all information.

I also liked it here and improved my technical skills a lot, I have learned several new methods that I didn’t know before, and I am going to use them in the future. For example I have learned a lot about problem solving; when there is problem with similar instruments sounding together, or when two or three instruments don’t sound clear. I really liked that everything was elaborate and orderly.

What have you learned here? Which skills have you developed the most?

As a passive participant I have mostly observed, how to handle the orchestra, what is the actual task of a conductor when performing Bartók, since obviously in case of a romantic composition personal interpretation is more important, but the music of Bartók is sterner, yet it is also filled with emotions, and the conductor has to mediate all this to the orchestra and be in charge of everything at the same time.

As a foreigner it was very important for me to study the oeuvre of a world famous Hungarian composer in Hungary, because his music received a lot of inspiration from folk music. I could also gain a firsthand experience of Hungarian musicians performing Bartók. I have also acquired some technical skills that I am definitely going to use.

If your friends ask you about the Bartók Seminar and Festival, then what will you tell them?

Professional work and good atmosphere. Our professor is the director of the Hungarian National Philharmonic, but he is a very open and approachable person, and communicates in a very direct manner with students and orchestra members alike.

I also liked the general attitude and kindness of Hungarians, and the opportunity of working together with a symphonic orchestra for such a long period of time.

How did you like working together with Zsolt Hamar? To what extent did his name influence you in choosing this master course?

Up to now I didn’t have any personal experience with him, but indirectly I learned a lot from him, and though I participated as a passive student, I have mostly been motivated by his personal presence. It is crucial that as a Hungarian conductor he dwelled himself into the art of Bartók, and I also admire his professional and personal attitude to music. Besides the personality of the conductor the orchestra also inspired my application to a great extent.

He works very meticulously, and points out the difficult parts that need to be worked out elaborately. He has excellent technical skills, it is slightly different from what I studied, but it is perfectly applicable.  

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