Cimbalom Gala – The Cimbalom in the 21st Century#268
The cimbalom in the 21st century - this is Müpa Budapest's motto as it organises its seventh World-Wide festival. The previous ones leave no doubt that the cimbalom is much more than a piece of Hungarian heritage: it is every bit a world-wide marvel.
Naturally, we would not have to convince anyone of this if not for the fact that the second half of the 20th century brought a prejudice against the instrument for being used primarily by the hospitality industry as supposed - and widely derided - 'Gypsy music'. Whereas in the 1920s, the virtuoso musician Aladár Rácz amazed the world touring with a cimbalom that had been furnished with a damper pedal by master instrument maker Vencel József Schunda. It was Rácz's influence that prompted Igor Stravinsky himself to learn how to play the cimbalom, which he later incorporated into his works Ragtime and Renard. At the end of the century, esteem for the cimbalom had returned, and it has been considered a full-fledged instrument in the realms of contemporary music, world music and jazz ever since. In this golden age, the peerless cimbalomist Márta Fábián has been followed by other outstanding - in terms of both their output and international success - artists like Ágnes Szakály, Kálmán Balogh, Miklós Lukács and András Szalai. All four will serve on the jury of the cimbalom competition to be held at the Budapest Music Center in August and later will join the winners for this gala concert at Müpa Budapest in December. The aim of Miklós Lukács, the initiator behind the competition, along with placing the cimbalom in a 21st-century context, was to enable new talents to introduce themselves - and they could hardly dream of a more memorable experience or greater recognition than to play alongside with top masters of the instrument at Müpa Budapest's cimbalom festival.
Presented by: Müpa Budapest