classical music, opera, theatre

György Orbán and His Students

Tímea Dragony, Katalin Szalai and Levente Gyöngyösi

Festival Theatre
  • Produced by Müpa Budapest

Ticket prices

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"I am a master craftsman. Whenever I am writing music, I always smell sawdust by the piano." This is how György Orbán, the composer of the 2023/24 season, expressed his artistic credo in an interview. For him, creating music is primarily about work and service, just as it was for composers before 1800. This is also where his aesthetic ideal leads him: music should be intelligible, moving and beautiful in the traditional sense of the word. However, this is not the only sense in which Orbán is a master, for he is also a schoolmaster, a fact highlighted in this concert in which works by three of his former students, now themselves seasoned composers, are juxtaposed with their mentor's music.

György Orbán taught composition and music theory at Budapest's Liszt Academy between 1982 and 2009. The three composers whose works we will hear alongside those of their teacher are not only linked to Orbán as students, but also continuously exploit the intellectual capital they received from him. To open the concert, Levente Gyöngyösi will conduct his ensemble Seventeen Singers in choral works by both Orbán and himself, showcasing how tonality, singability and thousands of years of Latin texts still leave plenty of room for a composer's imagination even at the turn of the second millennium. Tímea Dragony's chamber orchestra work Gwethyr, first premiered in 2018, draws the listener into the world of Celtic mysticism as it recasts the figure of the Celtic god of the title into the sounds of pure programme music. Katalin Szalai's new piece for chamber orchestra, Quotation Marks, written specifically for this occasion, works with actual musical quotes - not only from Bach, Schubert and Mozart, but also from Orbán himself - in order to present the original ideas from a new angle. Closing the evening will be Orbán's new chamber cantata. Titled Dominus Tecum - The Maiden and the Archangel, the work is a dialogue between the Archangel Gabriel and the Virgin Mary. Orbán has transformed the famous text of the Annunciation and Mary's song of thanksgiving into a dramatic dialogue: that is, he created a kind of dramatised Magnificat in an original fashion, with appropriately elevated and moving music.

The concert will be preceded from 6.30 pm by an introductory presentation in Hungarian entitled Prologue, by musicologist Gergely Fazekas, where concert ticket holders will be invited to get to know the performing musicians and the works to be performed more closely.

Presented by: Müpa Budapest


  • Levente Gyöngyösi, György Selmeczi
  • mezzo-soprano
    Ágnes Anna Kun
  • bass
    István Kovács
  • Seventeen Singers (artistic director: Levente Gyöngyösi)
  • Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra (artistic director: István Várdai)

Ticket information

You may purchase tickets online and in person for this performance using a Müpa Budapest gift voucher or by OTP, K&H or MBH SZÉP cards. If you purchase the tickets in person, then we also accept Rewin Gift Vouchers, and Rewin Gift Cards as well as the culture subaccount allowance on OTP Cafeteria cards.

Parking information

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