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Tamás Sándor Meets Composer Péter Eötvös in Budapest

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I’m Tamás Sándor,
Principal Second Violin of the Philharmonia Orchestra in London. We’ve come to Budapest,
to my hometown to meet Péter Eötvös, fellow Hungarian
composer and conductor. He’s going to bring
his new piece to London later this season. It’s called Multiversum,
and the Orchestra co-commissioned this piece by him. But first, let me introduce
to you my city, Budapest. This is such a beautiful city, and a wonderful place to visit because of its unique history. It has always been a
crossroads for many cultures. A meeting place for East and West. That mixing of people developed over time into something distinctly Hungarian. I love that there is always a buzz, there is always something to do. So this is a lángos. It is a very musical place, because, partly thanks to the
Austro-Hungarian Empire. Buda, and then later together
the two parts together, Budapest, became a Middle-European centre, not only politically
but culturally as well. And so these buildings
that we are passing now, these are all end of 1900s. And in this era the Budapest
of today has got its shape. And parallel to that culturally,
and musically as well all these amazing
buildings and institutions starting from the Opera and
the Music Academy itself, and the other concert
halls and music schools together were founded. Hungarian music culture is so rich, stretching back to the
Austrian composer, Josef Haydn, who lived in Hungary in
the mid to late 1700s, when he worked for the Esterházys,
a powerful noble family. Budapest was one of the
Austro-Hungarian Empire’s great cities and it drew
musicians from all over Europe. Brahms and Mahler worked here as well. Brahms, especially, was influenced
by Hungarian folk music. You can hear that in his
wonderful Hungarian Dances. In the first half of the 20th century, composers such as Béla
Bartók and Zoltán Kodály traveled throughout the
region to collect folk songs and incorporate them into their music. Later in the century, the new generation of Hungarian composers, György Ligeti
and Péter Eötvös, who we will meet later,
became more of a part of the avant-garde,
creating new sound worlds and stretching musical boundaries. And one of those musicians was Liszt. At his time, he was an amazing star, like a pop star of nowadays. An incredibly famous soloist, and a very dedicated teacher as well. And he, himself single-handedly
put down the foundation of this amazing academy. As a violinist, I was
privileged to work with teachers who had a direct line from the famous Hungarian violin school,
founded by Jenő Hubay. I also benefited from a strong
tradition of chamber music, learning from great string quartets, and this has remained a huge
part of my musical life today. And I even got to perform
in this wonderful hall on a regular basis. I grew up in the 14th
district of Budapest, where I got my start in
music with the Kodály method which forms the basis for
the music education system in Hungary. Zoltán Kodály was a
composer and national hero who was credited for transforming Hungary’s music education system. And the Kodály system
itself is not only about a method, how to teach children. Every single kid should have
the chance to study music. Every day’s life of elementary
school had music lessons, regular music lessons. There were, there are music schools
in every district. I think during my 2nd year of my studies, or 3rd year of my studies I
was already in an orchestra. And then regularly, twice a week. Automatically you get familiar
with playing in an orchestra, playing chamber music,
playing music together, enjoying the fact that you
are creating music together. Music was something I was doing every day, and it became a passion for me. It was also a great way to make friends. Actually, I met my wife
in youth orchestra. During the 20th century,
many, many musicians left the country for various reasons. Political reasons, World War,
anti-Semitism, Communism. Thousands and thousands
of musicians you can find all over the world, or all
over the rest of Europe who found a new home, found a new career. Later, during the ’70s,
’80s, it was possible to leave the country and study abroad. Péter Eötvös was one of them, and we are going to meet him now. I’ve never met him personally,
I’ve played his pieces. So I’m really curious and I
can’t wait to talk with him.

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3 thoughts on “Tamás Sándor Meets Composer Péter Eötvös in Budapest”

  1. manuel jesus says:

    Very nice your home town

  2. Boonrut Sirirattanapan says:

    Thanks for posting this VDO. The ending chords were amazing and maestro Eotvos explanation is inspiring.

  3. magicwheel1 says:

    Wonderful story. Hungary has an incredibly rich musical heritage, long may it continue.

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