The Institute and the Church Music Department of the Liszt Academy Follow in Haydn's Footsteps

7 March 2024

Some seventy-five Hungarian and foreign students, along with their instructors, went on a three-day field trip recently to Győr, Rohrau, Eisenstadt, Eszterháza, and Sopron.

The field trip entitled "In the Footsteps of Haydn," jointly organized by the Kodály Institute and the Church Music Department of the Liszt Academy, took place with the participation of approximately 75 instructors and students, among them foreigners from twenty-two countries between 29 February and 2 March.

On the first day, the team visited Győr: at the Episcopal and Chapter Archives, they had the opportunity to handle valuable 17th and 18th-century manuscripts (including works by Haydn and Werner), followed by a joint session held in the workshop of the Collegium Musicum of the Benedictine High School orchestrated by Brother Áron Kelemen, a monk-teacher, the artistic director of the institution, and a former student of the Liszt Academy. In the evening, at the Benedictine church's mass, several Gregorian chants were performed by the Church Music Department (conducted by György Merczel and Zoltán Mizsei), and Haydn's "Kleine Orgelmesse" was presented by the combined choirs of the two departments, featuring a solo by professor and singer Renáta Darázs and conducted by Anna Fűri. The organ solo was performed by Peter Guy (Australia), and the instrumental trio parts were played by Behin Özer (Turkey), Cynthia Meier (USA), and Meadhbh Campbell (Ireland), students of the Kodály Institute.

Over the next two days, the group visited locations in Austria and Hungary related to Haydn's work: the museum set up in his birthplace in Rohrau and the Esterházy palaces in Eisenstadt and Fertőd-Eszterháza. At the St. George Church in Sopron, the group had the opportunity to try out the country's oldest organ dating back to 1633, and the students of the Church Music Department also performed the vocal service for the evening mass. At each location, participants had the opportunity to sing together: for example, on the stage of the marionette theater at the Fertőd-Eszterháza palace, and in the Haydn Hall in Eisenstadt, where, thanks to the Austrian organizers, the performance of the Kodály Institute's students was attended by the Austrian Ambassador of Cyprus and a high-ranking delegation from the Cypriot Ministry of Labor.

At the Kodály Institute, the three-day field trip was preceded by a preparation from Haydn's oeuvre. In the first semester, his works were included into the repertoire of solfège, choral conducting, piano, and singing classes. In the three days leading up to the trip, special sessions were held, featuring a two-part guest lecture by Ádám Bősze entitled ’’Haydn and Eszterháza’’, as well as a clavichord and piano masterclass by Dóra Pétery, and open classes with Péter Erdei and the vocal ensembles of Institute, culminating in a joint concert.

"The trip was largely funded by the Liszt Academy plus the support of the National Cultural Fund, with a portion also covered by individual contributions and foundation support. The field trip was organized with the help of the staff of the Church Music Department and the Kodály Institute. We received support from both the rector's and the chancellor's office as well as members of the management and staff, once again showing how important such collaborations are, which have always been characteristic of the Liszt Academy," emphasized Dr. Judit Rajk, the director of the Kodály Institute.