"Give them wings"

Short story of the International Éva Marton Singing Competition

The 2014 1st International Éva Marton Singing Competition is an important milestone for both the Liszt Academy and the person after whom it is named. The academy’s first ever major music competition organized from scratch by the institution immediately won itself a place among the leading global classical music contests, while it also ful- filled a long-held dream of the former Liszt Academy student and Professor Emerita.

“When I was a student at the Liszt Academy, I resolved that if I ever had my own students, then I would teach them independence and self-confidence from the very first minute. Generally, a teacher wishes to create a lesser artist of the student than him or herself. This is wrong! You have to give them wings so that they can stand their ground in life as soon as possible,” Éva Marton once stated, and the organizers wisely chose these words of hers as the motto of the competition. But what makes a competition successful, how is it possible to lend wings to those taking part?

The essential organizational background and infrastructural conditions were only put in place following the major redevelopment of the Liszt Academy completed in 2013, when the institution  was enhanced with a professional event organizing and communications section. The details of the competition repertoire, the scheduling and arrangements were worked out by András Csonka, Head of the Cultural Directorate of the Liszt Academy, naturally in close cooperation with the competition eponym and the competition secretariat. It was the task of the Liszt Academy communications team to shape a unique image under the guidance of Imre Szabó Stein, to develop a website playing a critical role in the early stage of the competition when candidates submit their applications, to fashion an integrated media campaign supporting the promotion of the competition, and then later on to oversee the establishment of the entire publication and marketing tool portfolio and the origination of the prizes, along with the documentation and communication of the competition.

Interest exceeded all expectations: no fewer than 150 singers submitted entries from a total of 37 countries on five continents. In the end, the selection jury led by Éva Marton considered 77 artists worthy of appearing in person before a jury and showcasing their skills and talents in the live rounds. At the end of the 1st International Éva Marton Singing Competition the jury were unanimous in declaring Hungarian Szilvia Vörös winner of the Grand Prix, while the first prize went to 29-year-old Romanian baritone Alexandru Aghenie. In keeping with the general tone of the whole competition, both the jury and audience agreed on ranking the 30-year-old Ukrainian soprano Tetiana Zhuravel as being one of the best, who thus picked up the audience prize and second place, while third place went to Marcelina Beucher, a 28-year old Polish soprano.

Two years later, more than 100 artists from 25 countries on five continents submitted entries to the II International Éva Marton Singing Competition announced in January 2016. In the end, the selection jury led by Éva Marton admitted 77 competitors through to the live rounds, of whom 48 young singers representing 18 nations had to make the long trip to Budapest. The II International Éva Marton Singing Competition organized in September 2016 came to an end with the triumph Alexander Roslavets. The Belarusian bassist won the Grand Prix and the Audience Prize. Winner of the 1st prize was the Mongolian Ankhbayar Enkhbold, the second place went to the only Hungarian making it into the final, soprano Lilla Horti, while the 3rd prize was taken by Polish soprano Lucyna Jarzabek.