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SHRINES OF MUSIC A truly musical capital, Budapest combines venerable tradition, world-class venues and a contemporary buzz. You get an up-to-date international offer at A38 and Akvárium Klub, the former hosting arguably the best concerts, the latter a haven for electronica. Dürer Kert has fringe genres, up and coming artists and regular raves, while the plethora of bars and clubs in Budapest’s Jewish district and the quickly rising 8th are perfect for bumping into jam sessions or local gigs. If you are lucky you might witness a spontaneous jam by gypsy musicians – indispensable to Budapest’s music scene – gathering after their restaurant stints in a park. We walk you through the major shrines to classical, contemporary or jazz, and encourage you to open your ears, and sample spontaneously the city’s venues and festivals. (See Listing p.11) MUPA BUDAPEST Imposing in its design, proportions and cultural significance, Mupa Budapest is a singular institution dominating the city’s art scene. Hosting contemporary art museum LUMU, it is most notable as a concert venue. Its Béla Bartók National Concert Hall, with dimensions matching a Gothic cathedral has acoustics ranked consistently among the world’s top five, fitted with the second largest organ in Europe. Mupa has been a welcoming home to almost all contemporary genres from early classical to world music, hosting festivals, ballet, theatre and circus performances. 8 WHERE LONDON BUDAPEST I JANUARY I APRIL 2018 2013

LISZT FERENC ACADEMY OF MUSIC Reflecting the legacy of Kodály, Bartók, not to mention its founder Liszt, the Academy is a bastion of Hungarian music, a conservatory with an impressive alumni list and a spellbindingly beautiful art-nouveau feat. Having turned 110 years old last year, the building is freshly restored, and definitely worth a visit. Its true glory is apparent once you enter the foyer, adorned with Pre-Raphaelite frescos, Zsolnay cladding and stained-glass windows. If you step further in, the Grand Hall has a distractingly beautiful design with a persistent laurel tree theme – the seating area of the ground floor for roots while the ceiling covered in gilded foliage – added to hall’s perfect acoustics. During concerts of a mainly classical repertoire, lighting accentuates the stunning surroundings. PHOTO: TOP RIGHT — JUDIT MARJAI, GYÖRGY DARABOS BUDAPEST MUSIC CENTER Founded in 1996 by trombonist, professor and producer László Gőz, BMC is a more recent and vital addition to Budapest’s music scene. Set up as an information center, the Mátyás street institution grew into an essential hub of contemporary Hungarian music across several genres, with jazz and classical contemporary as its main features. Few are aware, but one of the greatest contemporary composers, György Kurtág lives and creates on the premises, working on his latest additions to classical music. The top-notch concert hall and Opus jazz club naturally boast perfect acoustics. Pop by any time for music of the highest standard. The dedication and expertise of BMC is also reflected in their record publications presenting Hungarian artists. The award-winning building itself expresses BMC’s state-of-the-art mindset employed to serve music. 9

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