On the occasion of the double Kodály anniversary, teachers of the Academy of Music and its Kodály Institute were invited to several partner universities and institutions in many parts of the world to present Kodály’s music pedagogical heritage and compositions in courses and concerts.
In Tokyo, on 14 October, the orchestra of the Tokyo University of the Arts, conducted by Professor László Tihanyi and the young folk music teacher Dániel Szabó gave a full-length concert in the concert hall of the University, where Kodály’s Galántai Dances and the Háry János suite were performed as well. In preparation for the concert, the Japanese students could deepen their knowledge of the Hungarian musical heritage, and the concert was a great opportunity to introduce the lesser known dulcimer to the Japanese audience. On the previous day, Dániel also gave a dulcimer workshop for the students of the university.
In Montreal, on 15-16 October, the Piano Department of the Schulich School of Music at McGill University hosted Professor Kálmán Dráfi, Head of Department at the Liszt Academy, who held an excellent piano masterclass on Hungarian composers’ works.
In Tbilisi, on 19 October, Dávid Báll, from the Piano Department of the Liszt Academy, together with Georgian artists Nino Jvani and Teimuraz Kharadz, gave a festive concert of Kodály’s and Bartók’s piano works, organized by the Hungarian Embassy. Dávid Báll also talked about the piano works at the concert hall of the Georgian National Music Academy. Two folk music students, Sára Bolyki and Borbála Sasvári, who are currently studying with Erasmus scholarships in Tbilisi, sang the original folk songs that inspired the compositions. After the concert, Dávid Báll held a two-day masterclass for Georgian pianist students.
The Academy of Music was also invited to two Kodály concerts, at the Conservatory Week Festival in St. Petersburg, where Kodály’s art songs and their folklore roots were presented by András Jánosi, folk violin teacher, and Anna Fürjes (voice) and Sámuel Tóth (piano). Mr Jánosi also held a seminar on Hungarian folk music for students from St. Petersburg.
In The Hague, on 17-19 November, 2017, the celebration of the 135th anniversary of the birth of Zoltán Kodály was held in the framework of a four-day festival in cooperation with the Hungarian Embassy in The Hague, the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest, the Royal Academy of Music in The Hague and the National Youth Choirs in the Netherlands. The festival was enriched with master classes, lectures and concerts.
At the Royal Academy of Music in The Hague, in the framework of the one-year master programme called “music as a profession”, a Kodály pedagogical training course was held on 16-19 November by the professors of the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music: Norbert Nemes László, director of the Kodály Institute, Anikó Novák pianist, and Körtvési Katalin tutor of Kokas Pedagogy. The Budapest delegation was well complemented by Géza Szilvay, professor at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, who presented the “Colourstrings” teaching method based on the Kodály concept. Participants of the master classes included Dutch music teachers and musicians.
On 17 November, at the Hague Palace of Peace, the seat of the Supreme Court of The Hague, lectures were held about Kodály’s oeuvre, moderated by the director of the library, Jeroen Vervliet. Vincent Wintermans, representative of the UNESCO Office in The Hague, presented the UNESCO Cultural Heritage Program, giving a historical overview of how the Kodály Method got included in the UNESCO Cultural Heritage List. László Norbert Nemes praised Kodály’s oeuvre and his spiritual heritage accompanied with singing and dancing. In addition to the presentation, two artists of the Royal Academy of Music in The Hague, violinist Joe Puglia and cellist Sietse-Jan Weijenberg, played Kodály’s Duo for violin and cello.
On 18 November, a beautiful concert was given in the Kloosterkerk, a beautiful church in the center of The Hague. The evening was opened by singer Irene Verburg with Kodály’s songs, accompanied by Anikó Novák (piano). The Dutch Youth Mixed Choir and the Dutch Young Women Choir, conducted by Wilma ten Wolde and Norbert László Nemes, performed a wonderful repertoire with a large number of emblematic Kodály choral pieces, to a large audience of 300 people, where many members of the diplomatic corps working in The Hague and other distinguished guests were present. The choir was accompanied by young Hungarian organist Gábor András Virágh.
The closing moment of the Kodály Festival was the Children’s Choir Festival at the Royal Academy of Music in The Hague on Sunday. There were four children’s choirs from the Netherlands, with a total of about 120 children were singing. Participants were: the Viva la Musica Choir School in Drenthe, the Gelderland Choir School led by Katalin Szabó, the Kathedrale Choir School in Utrecht, and the Dutch National Children’s Choir. Conductors of these children’s choirs all use the Kodály method. During the concert, each choir sang four pieces, and in the big finale all the children sang together with Norbert László Nemes conducting.
A Kodály seminar was also held in Lisbon under the leadership of Norbert László Nemes, which helps the professional development of Portuguese music teachers. Because of the scarcity of financial resources, these previously held seminars have been missing for years, so the interest this time exceeded expectations. The course is a fundamental pillar of the Kodály pedagogy in Portugal, complementing education in the Lisbon Music Academy and the Erasmus-funded Kecskemét study tours. The events had a very significant direct Portuguese press coverage, the Diário de Notícias daily newspaper reported in a two-page, representative article.
Most of the participants were students of the Academy of Music, while others were practising music teachers. The seminar, after an introductory lecture on Kodály’s musical education concept, focused primarily on the versatility of singing-based skills development, starting from the musical mother tongue to the style of the various periods of music literature, through more practical work. It is known that in the Baltic States the level of music education is very high, but teaching is based on the so-called absolute score reading system, as opposed to the relative system of the Kodály method. The students who were very open, enthusiastic and interested, were surprisingly very adaptive, thanks to the fact that their methodology teacher was familiar with the relative solmization in practice. With the help of a variety of musical materials, with many singing exercises, the students’ existing knowledge had been further deepened and their interests were arisen for studies in Hungary.
In London on 10 December, the St Mary Church in Rotherhithe Anglican Church hosted a festive concert with two masses: Mass in G by Ralph Vaughan Williams and Zoltán Kodály’s Missa brevis. Two prestigious choirs – The Vigala Singers, formed by former students of the Royal College of Music Junior Department of London and the Resident Choir of the Budapest Academy of Music, the New Liszt Ferenc Chamber Choir – conducted by the renowned British conductor Joy Hill and Norbert László Nemes, performed the masses. Despite London’s bad weather, there was a large audience at the concert, where the organ from 1764 was played by Gábor András Virágh. The day before the concert, Kodály teachers of the Guildhall School of Music Junior School, Cyrilla Rowsell, Christine Wrigley and Eszter Hargittai, held a demonstration course.
Istanbul and Stuttgart: Norbert László Nemes, Judit Rajk, Anikó Novák, Katalin Körtvési.