A két magyar nem csak játszotta a zenét, ők maguk voltak a zene – minden idegszálukban – egészen az ujjuk hegyéig.

Adelheid von Schorn Reményiről és Lisztről

John Shattuck

2013. október 22.

President and Rector of Central European University

The first reported contacts between the predecessors of the Liszt Academy of Music and Central European University date back nearly 175 years. It was in 1839, on Christmas day, when Count Leo Festetics, an accomplished musician and patron of the musical arts, joined his friend, Franz Liszt, in a journey from Bratislava to Pest.  Count Festetics invited Liszt to his home, the Festetics Palace. The palace was situated on a street at the center of Pest, Szel utca (now Nador u. 9), and later became the main building of the Central European University (CEU) in Budapest. In spite of the cold, when Liszt and his host arrived there was a large crowd in front of the palace and a military band was playing Hungarian melodies, in celebration of Liszt's, an internationally renowned Hungarian. Two weeks later, on January 11, 1840, a gala dinner took place at the Festetics Palace in honor of the planned National Conservatory that was opened thirty-five years later, in 1875.

One hundred and seventy two years after Liszt's triumphant arrival at the Festetics Palace, the twentieth anniversary of Central European University was celebrated on June 15, 2011, in a concert of works by Liszt and Mahler, performed by the orchestra of the Liszt Academy and the Concerto Budapest, conducted by Leon Botstein, Chairman of the CEU Board of Trustees and Music Director and Principal Conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra and Conductor Laureate of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra.

CEU, a multicultural and multi-ethnic university has students from almost 100 different countries of the world, and now hosts monthly chamber concerts performed by resident musicians, all of whom were trained at the Liszt Academy. On special occasions as the Grand Opening Gala of the Liszt Academy, we are thinking of future common projects and new possibilities for co-operation between the Academy and CEU.