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  • (c) Marco Borggreve
    © Marco Borggreve

Budapest Festival Orchestra: Avni, Sibelius, Rachmaninoff

Budapest, Palace of Arts — Bela Bartok National Concert Hall

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About the Event

Immerse yourself in the stunning architecture of Budapest's breathtaking Palace of Arts for the ultimate concert set to awake your understanding of classical music.

An evocative blend of Eastern European Jewish tradition and melody takes center stage in a distinctive concert experience. The night will feature a singular concerto from Finland's most celebrated composer, the romantic allure of Rachmaninoff's final composition, and a musical ode that reimagines the soulful prayers of Jewish ancestry.

Esteemed violin soloist, Clara‐Jumi Kang, showcases a compelling duality in her musical expression. As described by The Strad, she delicately caresses when the moment demands, yet unflinchingly attacks when the music calls for it. Bachtrack aptly highlights her unparalleled ability to “recreate music in a vivid and poignant manner, enveloped in luminous hues and poignant intonation.”

The orchestra will be led by the proficient Lahav Shani, a 35‐year‐old maestro from Israel, making a return to the BFO's podium. His leadership, characterized by Classic Toulouse, stands out for its “remarkable talent, organic direction, unyielding energy, and pinpoint precision.”

In the vibrant 1960s, Tzvi Avni, an Israeli composer, now nearing a century, channeled his creativity into music that resonated with the diverse tapestry of Jewish culture. His composition for the string orchestra awakens with a prayerful viola melody, reminiscent of Kodály. As the melody progresses, it stirs with tumultuous energy akin to Bartók's signature style, juxtaposed by ethereal flageolet tones. The piece gracefully concludes, drawing the curtain with its resounding opening theme.

Sibelius, having honed his skills as a violinist, blessed the music world with a concerto that beautifully balances comfort and challenge for violinists. Revised post its 1904 premiere, this piece is a masterful synthesis of 19th‐century virtuosity and Sibelius's symphonic flair. Its orchestration, evoking the crispness of northern autumn and winter, journeys through an emotional cadenza, a poignant slow movement, and concludes with an exhilarating dance. A testament to its magnificence, it was dedicated to the prodigious Ferenc Vecsey, who at just thirteen, mesmerized audiences with its debut performance.

Rachmaninoff's Symphonic Dances, possibly his swansong before his departure in 1943, encapsulates the melancholy of homesickness and a poignant adieu to life. Originally envisioned for a ballet, this composition serenades listeners with its haunting melodies, resonating with the composer’s sentiments from his first symphony to the ethereal waltz movement. The grand finale, a medley of Russian Orthodox melodies and Rachmaninoff's own Vespers, poignantly concludes with a reverberating 'Thank you, Lord!'


  • Tzvi Avni – Prayer for string orchestra
  • Jean Sibelius – Violin Concerto in D minor, op. 47
  • Sergei Vasilievich Rachmaninoff – Symphonic Dances, Op. 45
Program is subject to change


Orchestra: Budapest Festival Orchestra
Violin: Clara‐Jumi Kang
Conductor: Lahav Shani

Palace of Arts

MÜPA Budapest is a multipurpose cultural and arts centre, situated in the Millenium Quarter of Budapest. The former 'Palace of Arts' houses three cultural institutions - the Bartok National Concert Hall, the Festival Theatre, and the Ludwig Museum. Opened in 2005, the centre was immediately recognised for its state-of-the-art architecture and functionally sleek interior. The MÜPA's objective is to introduce modern arts while appreciating old traditions, and to make Hungarian art more accessible to a wider audience. The Bartok Concert Hall houses a magnificent organ, one of the largest in Europe. The complex presents events of many kinds, from opera to dance and concerts of contemporary music.


Palace of Arts, Komor Marcell sétány 1., Budapest, Hungary — Google Maps

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