Contemporary Arts Festival, Now On Until 23 October

  • 14 Oct 2016 5:35 AM
Contemporary Arts Festival, Now On Until 23 October
The CAFe Budapest Contemporary Arts Festival presents some of the greatest contemporary performers from Hungary and abroad, including Yann Tiersen, Hiromi, Plaid and the Southbank Gamelan Players, Squarepusher’s project band, Shobaleader One, Krzysztof Penderecki, Yellowjackets, the FAMILIE FLÖZ and Krisztián Gergye’s Company.

From the organisers:

Over the past quarter of a century, the festival has become the leading review of the contemporary arts not only in Hungary, but in Central Europe as well. This year the event will present, throughout its 17 days, more than 100 contemporary music, dance, opera, theatre, pop, world music and jazz productions, as well as visual art and fashion shows, at around 30 of the major cultural institutions and public spaces of the capital.

This year’s focus is on Polish culture and Béla Bartók’s still vital legacy, and several of the events pay homage to the heroes of the 1956 revolution and war of independence.

The festival’s guests will include such world stars as the doyen of Polish contemporary music, Krzysztof Penderecki, renowned film music composer Yann Tiersen, spellbinding Japanese jazz pianist Hiromi, the legendary Yellowjackets, the reorganized Koop Oscar Orchestra, pivotal electronic musician Squarepusher’s band, Shobaleader One, the Polish Cloud Theatre, whose shows feature stunning visuals, and the Teatro Potlach, which brings a contemporary interpretation of Shakespeare.

Detailed program:

The programme boasts unique productions created specifically for the festival: newly restaged, Bluebeard’s Castle and The Miraculous Mandarin will be presented with a new choreography, László Tihanyi will premiere two one-act operatic pieces, Tamás Juronics has created a choreography for Górecki’s symphony, and Krisztián Gergye will salute the memory of 1956 with a celebratory drama.

CAFe Budapest also participates in the realization of a number of event series with themes of their own. Co-created by CAFe Budapest and Hangvető, Budapest Ritmo is Eastern Europe’s first world music festival, which has been inspired by the success of WOMEX in Budapest. Some 30 concerts over four days, held in Müpa Budapest and the CAFe Tent erected outside it, will provide an overview of the latest in world music.

The Mini Festival, a survey of recent Hungarian music, will again be part of CAFe Budapest’s programme, as will Art Market Budapest, the international contemporary art fair, and the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Central Europe. The Margin Literary Festival and Book Fair, which celebrates Hungarian literature and authors, joins CAFe Budapest this year for the first time.

The detailed programme of the Festival can be found at

CAFe Budapest Contemporary Arts Festival

One of the highlights of the CAFe Budapest Contemporary Arts Festival will be the performance of Krzysztof Penderecki’s monumental choral symphony, Seven Gates of Jerusalem, with the composer himself conducting in Müpa Budapest.

A few days later, Penderecki, who is considered the most influential Polish composer today, will stand on the rostrum in the Liszt Academy of Music’s Main Hall, conducting his Bartók-inspired Sinfonietta, his Symphony No. 3, and his Trumpet Concerto. The master composed the latter for Gábor Boldoczki, the outstanding Hungarian trumpet player who will also perform at the Hungarian premiere of the piece.

Simultaneously making the universe sound and speaking in an utterly human voice, Polish avant-garde composer Henryk Górecki’s Symphony No. 4 encourages the listener to ask essential questions about being. It elicits the real drama from the tension between the two voices, championing the truth and a love of life, and speaking for the perennial responsibility of the artist who is to influence the way we shape our lives.

The piece will now be staged as eARTh, with the Szeged Contemporary Dance Company and the National Dance Theatre performing Tamás Juronics’s choreography.

In a Short Outline of Everything, the Polish Cloud Theatre undertakes nothing less than to tell the story of the world from a bird’s eye view. Boasting special visuals and performed live entirely, the production provides a unique synthesis of theatre, film and a variety of visual arts.

Featuring two harps, Eurydice’s Dream will be another Polish-themed event: the Polish Zuzanna Elster joins Fischer Annie Scholarship holder Anastasia Razvalyaeva for a chamber concert at the Pesti Vigadó.

The festival will open with the Pécs Ballet’s production of Bluebeard’s Castle and The Miraculous Mandarin, with Zoltán Kocsis conducting the Hungarian National Philharmonic. Bartók Beyond Borders is the project of ensemble mini, a group of young musicians, who perform diverse arrangements of the composer’s symphonic pieces.

The Hungarian master’s works can also be heard at the concert of Kristóf Baráti and Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, as well as at the performance of the Óbuda Chamber Choir, along with pieces by contemporary composers. Director Csaba Horváth, the Forte Company and the Hungarian Studio Orchestra undertook to stage Bartók’s String Quartet No. 5 and Concerto, with an unconventional choreography.

Quatuor Habanera and the concerts of the Porsche Art Music Programme will offer jazz interpretations of the composer’s music, while A Tale of Béla will introduce children to the magical world of Bartók.

In addition to his own works, Bartók will also be present at the festival as a source of motivation for other artists. #Bartók, the exhibition of Ludwig Museum, will present works of art that were inspired by the work of the composer and student of folk music.

Krisztián Gergye has prepared a special production for the 60th anniversary of the 1956 revolution and war of independence. A drama of celebration – ...‘56–‘16... is a truly comprehensive artwork that seeks to bring those historic days closer to today’s viewers.

The concert called radio_56 explores the parallel realities of music and literature, with the participation of such well-known pop musicians as Misi Mező (Magna Cum Laude), Tamás Mórocz (Bermuda), Juci Németh (Nemjuci), Krisztián Szűcs (ex-Heaven Street Seven), and Barbara Schoblocher (Blahalousiana), as well as actors Tamás Pajor and Kornél Simon.

The Opera House presents two unique works on the same evening. The Mine, the work of Finnish contemporary composer Einojuhani Rautavaara, was inspired by what happened in Hungary in 1956: the story of miners trapped underground by a disaster is an allegory of a community revolting against dictatorship.

The performance of the Finnish composition will be followed by the world premiere of a new Hungarian opera, the winner of the competition for musical adaptations of Tibor Déry, Károly Makk and Péter Bacsó’s film, Love. Employing distinctive means, young composer Judit Varga creates a world of her own, which is considerably shaped by the influence of Déry’s short stories and Makk’s film, but in which the history of the 1950s is seen through the eyes of a new generation.

CAFe Budapest awaits audiences with further world premieres and special musical, theatre and dance productions.
The Kelemen Quartet, the Amadinda Percussion Group and the UMZE Chamber Orchestra salute Steve Reich at the Academy of Music by performing the works of the American composer, who turns 80 in October.

Gábor Hollerung and the Dohnányi Orchestra Budafok play the works of contemporary romantics at the concert in Müpa Budapest: Levente Gyöngyösi’s work is informed by a revolutionary pathos, the salient features of György Orbán’s piece are irony and nostalgia, and László Dubrovay’s piano concerto is infused with a transcendental virtuosity. The Southbank Gamelan Players, who studied the art in Java and Bali, join forces with Plaid, an electronica duo, to perform a prodigious composition in Müpa Budapest.

The festival presents the world premiere of two new one-act pieces by internationally renowned Hungarian composer László Tihanyi, which fuse operatic elements. Through the drama of a family, excerpts from journals and letters, and fragmentary memories pared down to a few turns of phases, White Rose illustrates the two voices of the human soul, the one external, the other internal. Red Glow was inspired by Japanese culture, and represents the exemplary symbiosis of tradition and modernity. Béla Földi wrote the choreography for the productions, which were directed by Gábor Máté.

Sensational German theatre company FAMILIE FLÖZ comprises actors, dancers, pantomime artists, mask makers, puppeteers and musicians, and their guest performance at Müpa Budapest will concern birth and death.

At Trafó, Eszter Kálmán blends genres in The Lake, a production in which puppet theatre meets dance. It has been twenty years since Christopher Marlowe’s Edward II was last staged in a Hungarian theatre: the new production is directed by Róbert Alföldi, features live music selected by László Gőz, and stars Ernő Fekete. Vígszínház presents The Penthesilea Programme, a new drama by the young film director, writer and dramatist Réka Kincses, which is a woman’s outspoken take on the story of a family, running through generations.

Theatre and music meet in a special, visionary blend in the world premiere of Matei Vişniec’s Dada Cabaret. Shakespeare’s Island, the guest performance of the Italian Teatro Potlach, which was founded in 1976, promises to be an exciting treat. The company has been responsible for highly poetic productions with special atmospheres, as they left the traditional medium of the theatre and transformed everyday spaces with projection mapping and modern video art technologies.

Their current production, which they have created for the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, features such well-known characters as Romeo and Juliet, Othello and Desdemona, Hamlet and Ophelia, as well as Caesar and Brutus, who all suffer a shipwreck thanks to Prospero’s magic, and find themselves on a mysterious island... In their turn, the Agrupación Señor Serrano draw a merciless pop-portrait of the post-9/11 era in A House in Asia, which they will perform in Trafó.

In addition to classical music, the festival also offers a rich selection of jazz, world music and pop. Described in the international press as Japan’s most magical natural phenomenon, jazz pianist Hiromi will perform with celebrated bassist Jimmy Johnson and drummer Simon Phillips. The legendary Yellowjackets, whose frequently changing line-up has always included brilliant musicians, now comes to Budapest with Bob Mintzer, founding member Russell Ferrante, Will Kennedy and Dane Anderson. Violinist, pianist, accordionist and composer Yann Tiersen is one of today’s most popular French musicians, who found world fame with his music for the film Amélie.

He will now perform solo at CAFe Budapest. The festival will play host to the most important French big band, the Orchestre National de Jazz, which fuses the freedom of jazz with the energy of rock, and the culture of form that marks classical music with the boldness of experimental music. The crossover concert of Catch-Pop String-Strong at Muzikum promises to be a special experience, with the performers moving with great ease from Bach’s music to traditional Balkan songs, or from pop to the rhythmic dance tunes of the Scottish Highlands, sometimes accompanying their own performance with singing or whistling.

The newly re-formed Swedish Koop Oscar Orchestra, one of the most important bands of electronica-based, danceable nu jazz, will perform on the A38 Boat, as will the Emancipator Ensemble, who are among the most inventive performers of contemporary downtempo electronica. Wintergatan marry electronic sound with Scandinavian folk music and astonishing instrument inventions, while the Italian Sacri Cuori amaze their audience with their unique recreation of the mystical moods of Fellini, Nino Rota and Morricone soundtracks and the films of David Lynch and Angelo Badalamenti, as they combine the world of rock ballads with American blues and Italian folk music.

The seven young brass players of Mnozil Brass add a great deal of humour and riveting virtuosity to their interpretations of popular songs of a wide spectrum, from folk music to jazz, and from opera to operetta; they come to Budapest after bringing down the house in Vienna, Moscow and London. Bálna Budapest will present such extraordinary pop performers and projects as Squarepusher presents Shobaleader One, the InFusion Trio featuring Sena, and the Four Bones Quartet with Bíborka Bocskor.

CAFe Budapest also participates in the realization of a number of event series with themes of their own.

The Budapest Ritmo, Hungary’s latest world music festival, was inspired by the success of the 2015 WOMEX, which was held in Budapest. Presented by Hangvető and CAFe Budapest, Budapest Ritmo is the first world music festival in Hungary and Eastern Europe to serve as a meeting point for the region and the world, where the interaction of different cultures can become a source of renewable energy.

As a consequence, the theme of the first Budapest Ritmo is encounter, chance meetings that often seem improbable and surprising: the joint performance of Armenian and Turkish, French and Japanese, Israeli and Iranian, Roma and Sami performers, who will explore the life of Béla Bartók’s collection of Hungarian, Romanian, Serbian, Slovak, Turkish and Algerian folk songs. A number of the stars of world music will also be featured at some of the 25 concerts in Müpa Budapest and the CAFe Tent erected next to it.

The Castle Garden Bazaar will be home to the Mini Festival, a survey of contemporary and recent Hungarian music. Last year the programme was extended to include some of the youngest composers (Kodály Scholarship holders), as well as selected international contemporaries, who will be Polish composers this year.

Starting on 13 October, the Art Market Budapest is a contemporary art fair, which has presented artists from 35 countries. The focus is now on Polish art, while Brazil, South Korea and Namibia make their first appearance at the prestigious event.
Literature and authors will be celebrated at the Margin Literary Festival and Book Fair, whose guests will include Péter Nádas and the Polish Joanna Bátor.

The Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Central Europe will join our survey of the arts for the third time, presenting the collections of some fifty young designers from Hungary.

Exhibitions and free events will add further colour to the programme of CAFe Budapest, with galleries, exhibition halls and the cultural institutions of the city’s districts timing the opening of their new shows for this period, while the Afternoon of Open Studios will allow a peek behind the scenes, the ateliers where the work is done. Every night, with the exception of Sundays, the Glass House in Városháza Park, built for the duration of the festival, will await audiences with free events.

Further information:

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