On Thursday evening the Hungarian Embassy in Washington, DC hosted the finalists of the bi-annual Bartók Piano Competition from the local school area.

Last night Ambassador Dr. Réka Szemerkényi and the Hungarian Embassy took great pleasure in hosting the finalists of the bi-annual Bartók Piano Competition. The finalists, all from local schools, were each assigned to recital groups and selected based on their performance of two arrangements by Hungarian composer Béla Bartók – one from a required list and another of the student’s choice.

Ambassador Dr. Réka Szemerkényi poses with the student finalists at the Hungarian Embassy in Washington, DC

The Ambassador began by speaking with the children about the importance of the works of Béla Bartók who to this day is considered one of the leading composers of his epoch, the “revolutionary generation.” Thanking the Washington Music Teachers Association for its organization of the event, the Ambassador also noted that the decision to name the competition after Bartók seemed particularly appropriate in consideration of his aim as pedagogue to make classical music accessible to children of all generations.

Finalists of all ages then treated Embassy staff to several wonderful performances of arrangements by Bartók - from 'For Children, Vol I # 26, Moderato' to 'Bagatelle op. 6 no. 12, Rubato.'

Then the Ambassador again expressed her gratitude towards the students for taking such an active interest in Hungarian culture and the arts, wished them a joyful musical journey, and encouraged each student to also explore the works of other prominent Hungarian composers such as Ferenc Liszt, Zoltán Kodály, and Ernst von Dohnányi.

One of the finalists performs for Embassy Staff and her fellow students

Ambassador Dr. Réka Szemerkényi talks with the finalists about the historical importance of the works of Bartók