Event - Left portrait image
Kálmán Záborszky leads the Zugló Filharmonics

Masters of the future

"The Zugló Philharmonics is obviously the best Hungarian youth orchestra. Listening to them we hardly believe that young musicians are playing", writes the German daily, Der Tagesspiegel on its website after the Berlin concert of the orchestra led by Kálmán Záborszky. We asked the conductor about the experiences of the Zugló Philharmonics in Berlin.
You gave the concert on the festival called Young Euro Classic. How did you come into contact with the organizers?
This is a prestigious musical festival which is regularly held for more that a decade and is organised on the basis of invitations. The organizers invite youth orchestras from all over the world which are capable of representing the music of their homeland. The organizers had heard of us, and made contact with us asking us to send them some of our musical records in order that they could assess the merits of the orchestra and could decide to invite us or not.
Was the program of the concert in Berlin based on the material sent to them?
Yes, and with this we scored full marks right away, because they put our concert on the most popular day of the festival, Saturday. We played in a full house, moreover we took part in a large-scale meeting with the public too, which was a very exciting experience indeed. We received a lot of words of appreciation and encouragement and this gave us great pleasure because we didn't play before friends and acquaintances, but in a foreign country in front of a mixed, international audience.
What kind of a repertoire could you fascinate the audience with?
We only played pieces by Hungarian composers. Dances from Galánta by Zoltan Kodály, Fantasy on Hungarian Folk Melodies by Franz Liszt and Concerto for Orchestra by Béla Bartók. The organizers asked us to select from works by Hungarian composers partly to avoid repetitions and partly to be authentic. In this respect we had an easy task, because the pieces of world-famous Hungarian composers are rather popular abroad and these very well represent the musical culture of Hungary. And I should draw attention to the pianist of the piece of Zoltán Kodály, the 15-year-old Mihály Berecz (his teacher is Erzsébet Belák) who also had tremendous success. The audience, so to say, demanded an encore and the pianist selected an extremly difficult piece, Allegro Barbaro by Béla Bartók to thank for the enthusiastic applause. But the audience didn't let the orchestra go away easily either. We performed III. Hungarian Rhapsody by Franz Liszt and Intermezzo by Zoltán Kodály as an encore.
What did you feel when you performed these emblematic Hungarian pieces in a full house?
From the very first moment we could sense the perfect harmony between all the members of our orchestra, everybody gave the best of his or her knowledge. I think I'm speaking in the name of all of us when I say that we all played in a solemnn and elevated mood. We represented our homeland on a prestigious international event and succeeded in showing the special beauty of these pieces. The audience gave us a standing ovation after the concert. This well may be the biggest success of my whole career.
What is the secret of this success?
In Hungary there were some determinative masters who created a strong basis for musical pedagogy. The Korály method is a Hungarian specialty and the standard of instrumental education is also world-famous. The Academy of Music - keeping up the heritage of its founder, Franz Liszt - gave such great musicians and teachers as Ferenc Erkel, Zoltán Kodály, Béla Bartók, Ernő Dohnányi, László Lajtha or to mention a big name of the past decades, Dénes Kovács. This pedagogical tradition still has its vivid effect on the younger generations and in the current youth orchestras the masters of the future may well be found.

August 6, 2013