Nearly two hundred special events, including several first performances and highly anticipated premieres, countless sold-out shows, dance performances and concerts to standing ovations in Budapest, Miskolc, Győr, Debrecen, Szeged and Pécs, unconventional productions in public spaces, world music picnics, very successful exhibitions, an unmistakable festival atmosphere: this is what was on offer for almost two months at the Bartók Spring International Arts Weeks, which brought together the best of the Hungarian and international art scene and young talents.
"We are extremely proud of the great reception given to the nationwide programme of the Bartók Spring, which we worked on with brilliant partners: artists, councillors, organisers, dedicated partner institutions. It was an extraordinary experience to connect with audiences in cities across the country, to see the huge demand for exciting cultural events, to feel the energy that was generated by the artists and audiences who could finally meet live. We believe that nothing builds the brand of a country or a city more effectively than the artistic and communal experiences it offers, which is also of particular importance for boosting cultural tourism. It was a pleasure to see how important Bartók’s spirit, the power of curiosity and creativity, is for today’s people,” says Csaba Káel, CEO of Müpa Budapest, founder of the Bartók Spring International Arts Weeks. He points out that the festival was made unforgettable by such exceptional artists and ensembles as Julia Fischer and the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Branford Marsalis and his friends, Anthony Roth Costanzo, who performed with the Orfeo Orchestra and conductor György Vashegyi, and Péter Eötvös, who brought his latest opera to a Hungarian stage. David Fray enchanted the audience with Kristóf Baráti, István Várdai and the Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra, Dénes Várjon gave an impressive double concert with Concerto Budapest, and the FrenÁk Company premiered a highly successful new production. Uri Caine, Ton Koopman and the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, the Royal Ballet Fehérvár and the Boban Marković Orkestar, Ramón Vargas, Maxim Vengerov and the Pannon Philharmonic, Philippe Herreweghe and the Collegium Vocale Gent, María Pagés, Circa, and Igudesman & Joo all brought special treats to the festival. After last year’s online premieres, the Ballet Company of Győr, the Ballet Pécs, the Szeged Contemporary Dance Company and the Hungarian National Dance Company finally presented the dance performances they created for the Bartók Spring at live venues across the country. Budapest Ritmo, a world music event series presented under the banner of the festival, attracted a record number of spectators in Budapest, and for the first time in its history, the region’s most exciting opportunity to explore world music also had a national edition, a free music picnic, with a colourful programme in Miskolc, Győr and Debrecen, entertaining young and old alike. Latin jazz legend Arturo Sandoval got the audience dancing with his joyful music in two venues, while those living or visiting in Debrecen and Győr will no doubt never forget the vertical show of BANDALOOP, the dance troupe that performed breathtaking choreographies on the facades of prominent buildings, to the great delight of the passers-by.
Thousands of viewers followed the online broadcasts of the sold-out performances on the festival’s digital platforms in and outside Hungary: Uri Caine’s concert, the world premiere of the all-art production, Pure Source, which was the first ever performance on the stage of Bartók’s Arabic collection, and the Hungarian State Folk Ensemble’s His Cross Blossomed, an Easter-time production for the family, were all streamed online.
Between Heaven and Hell: The Mysterious World of Hieronymus Bosch, the largest exhibition ever in Central Europe of the art of Bosch opened at the Museum of Fine Arts as an event of the Bartók Spring. The highly popular exhibition is still open to the public, as is the Ludwig Museum’s Extended Present: Global States of Transitoriness, and the Hungarian National Gallery’s exhibition, which opened on 12 April and focuses on the visual culture of Hungarian Art Deco. And speaking of a festival experience that extends beyond the festival season: Recirquel’s brand new production, IMA made its successful debut at the Bartók Spring, and will be shown again in June in the Tent of Müpa Budapest.
The Bartók Spring International Arts Weeks have their own bilingual magazine in print and online,
and tens of thousands of readers have visited the official blog of the festival for behind-the-scenes content, absorbing articles and interviews. A selection of photos from the most memorable moments of the Bartók Spring can be seen in the festival’s online gallery,
while short videos that recap the events and offer insights into the birth of the new productions can be viewed on the Bartók Spring’s video channel.