The July 15 concert was the first time Tamás Vásáry had played in the Reformed Church. The world-renowned pianist and conductor was born in Debrecen and lived here until he was 12, he said he had spent the happiest time of his life in Debrecen betwen 6 and 12 years of age. At the unusual concert on Sunday night he also told his audience that he regularly dreamt about Debrecen as an adult and about playing music in the Great Church, where his grandfather, Dezső Baltazár reformed bishop had preached.
- A pecularity of life is that, after I was given the Saint Stephen Award, it turned out that my grandfather, too, was awarded the same state honour in 1922, with the difference that at the time it had a different name, Tamás Vásáry , who is also Artist of the Nation, Honorary Citizen of Debrecen, and Honorary Docotr of the Universoty of Debrecen as well... a proudly told tje audience who had gathered there in his honour.
The pianist and conductor will turn 85 in August. He was greeeted on this occasion by Szabolcs Komolay, vice-mayor of Debrecen, István Derencsényi, town clerk of Tiszántúl Reformed Diocese, Mihály Duffek, professor of the Faculty of Music of Debrecen University as well as the professors and students of the International Summer Academy of Young Musicians.
At the piano concert that evening Tamás Vásáry revealed that it was exactly 80 years since he had started to play the piano, then he talked about his years spent in Debrecen as a child, about his memories of the Music Academy, and his relationship with Zoltán Kodály. He mentioned the period he spent in emigration, about the recordings, and about the times when he gave over 100 concerts a year. During his talks he played compositions linked to the milestones of his career by Liszt, Beethoven, Zoltán Kodály, and Chopin, and, as a closing of his birthday cocert, he played a piece for four hands with Judit Váradi, art director of the International Summer Academy of Young Musicians.
This week, the 85-year-old artist started work the Zoltán Kodály Youth World Orchestra, which is formed every year,within the framework of the International Summer Academy of Young Musicians at the Faculty of Music of the University of Debrecen. The young musicians are preparing, under Tamás Vásáry’s guidance, with pieces by Manuel de Falla, Ferenc Liszt and Zoltán Kodály: their first concert will take place on Tuesday, July 24 in the Kölcsey Centre, as the closing event of the Academy. After that, like in previous years, the world orchestra will go on a tour. Their first event will be in Budapest at the Városmajor Open Air Theatre, then they will take part in the series „It’s swell on the beach” in Balatonfüred, and finally they will give a concert in the cocert hall of the Slovenian Philharmonic in Ljubljana.