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Jazzfest Budapest to Mark EU Accession Anniversary

20 March 2024

More than 200 artists from 20 countries will perform in almost 90 concerts at the 3rd Jazzfest Budapest from April 27 to May 15, with the 20th anniversary of the accession to the European Union being the focus of the eighteen-site event.

     Among the many world stars performing at the Budapest Spring Festival (BTF) are Mario Biondi, Bill Evans & Vansband All Stars, Roberto Fonseca and Victor Wooten. Several concerts will feature musicians from abroad and from Hungary.

      "Hungarian jazz musicians are an amazing treasure, they can bring a culture to the world that represents our Hungarianness," Attila Kleb, director of Jazzfest Budapest, said at a press conference on Wednesday.

      He stressed that 40% of the performers are foreigners, thanks to the cooperation of eight foreign cultural institutions. The Italian Institute will also be the venue: on May 14, a traditional Sardinian vocal ensemble, Tenores di Bitti, will perform here, accompanied by saxophonist Enzo Favata. The opening event will be an open-air jazz photography exhibition on Hunyadi Square, opening on the zero day, 26 April.

     Representing the BTF and Budapest Brand, programme director Máté Gáspár said that the capital has a fantastic network of clubs, which the festival will give great visibility to. He added that they want to bring world-class culture closer to the city's inhabitants.

     There will be open-air concerts on Liszt Ferenc Square, Rákóczi Square and Bakáts Square, and the program will include three free concerts in the Town Hall Park on International Jazz Day, April 30, from 17:00 hours, Máté Gáspár said. The Norwegian Kjetil Mulelid Trio, the Czech Nikol Bóková Quartet and a gala concert will take place from 20:00 hours.

     This year's event will focus on the 20th anniversary of Hungary's accession to the EU, and in connection with this, pianist Krisztián Oláh has composed a new work entitled Ludus Europae, which will be premiered at the Merlin Theatre from April 30 to May 1.

    "It was an inspiring task for me to compose a work about Europeanness. The evening will bring together classical and jazz musicians, 27 in total, as many as the EU member states," Krisztián Oláh pointed out. Among the artists who will perform are Veronika Harcsa, Mihály Borbély, János Ávéd, János Borbély, János Ávéd Jr. Kálmán Oláh, György Orbán, Dániel Serei and Gábor Subicz.

    The international stars of this year's festival will perform at the Erkel Theatre. Italian singer Mario Biondi will perform on 27 April, American saxophonist Bill Evans and his band on May 7, Cuban pianist Roberto Fonseca on May 13, and American bassist Victor Wooten and The Wooten Brothers on the closing day, May 15.

     Krisztián Oláh is the curator of this year's Jazzfest Budapest, along with three other distinguished Hungarian jazz musicians, Mihály Borbély on saxophone, Miklós Lukács on cimbalom and Kornél Mogyoró on percussion.

    Krisztián Oláh, who put together the programme for the Premier KultCafé at Jazzfest Budapest, emphasised that the diversity of improvisation was the guiding thread for him in this work. The Balázs Elemér Quartet, the Italian duo of Gianluca Petrella and Pasquale Mirra, the Kristóf Bacsó Triad, Miklós Lukács, Connectrio, the Turkish Önder Focan Trio and the Brazilian Joao Camarero will play at this venue.

    Trafó will also be the venue for two pianist-drummers, the British Gary Husband (ex-Level 42) and Áron Tálas, who will play together on May 9, accompanied by dance artist Bea Egyed, and on May 10, the South Korean Sinnoi will perform.

     In Lumen, the British Trevor Watts Eternal Triangle will give a concert on May 15, the Gyárfás Trio will play with Italian guitarist Agostino Di Giorgio in the If Café, Hungarian folk tales will be performed by Viktor Tóth on saxophone and Veronaki will also perform in Eötvös10 on May 1 as part of the Children's Day.

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