Hungary’s culture and history is infused with music and with composer giants such as Liszt, Kodály and Bartók this small country in the heart of Europe definitely made its contributions to the musical heritage of the world.
Classical music has the extraordinary capability to carry us out of this world, even for a moment, transcending all of the darkness and harsh realities, and bringing us into a realm that is filled with lilting melodies, deliciously dissonant chords, and sweet harmonies. Sounds good, doesn’t it? Who wouldn’t want to book a ticket on that classical caboose heading to the musical cosmos?
Well, there is good news for those who feel like spending a night with the tunes of a prestigious orchestra in Budapest. The Hungarian capital is not short on world-class music venues but three of those definitely stand out as uncanny representatives of Budapest’s classical music heritage.
Read on to pick the perfect locale for your listening and viewing pleasure!
Budapest Concerts on the Danube Bank
Let’s start our list with the most modern among Budapest’s classical music venues, Müpa Budapest. Much more than a mere concert destination, the Palace of Arts, as it is also called, is truly a cultural institution.
Not only does the unique venue bring a wide variety of music options to visitors, from classical to contemporary and even jazz and opera, but it also provides patrons with myriad other arts, such as literature, film, and dance offerings. Since opening its doors in 2005, Müpa has made multiculturalism and the enjoyment of the arts and music its mission.
As such, the institute has spent over a decade bringing a refreshingly and remarkably diverse wealth of performers and artists to its stages and showrooms. By uniquely blending the best of both worlds—traditional and modern— the Palace of Arts somehow magically is able to not only bridge two seemingly opposites, but weave them into a wonderfully wide range of entertainment. Acts that can be enjoyed by everyone, from the haute couture connoisseurs to the everyday Joe looking for an unforgettable musical experience.
Not to be outmatched by the stellar performances that grace its stages, the building that hosts Müpa’s programs is just as multifaceted. It is made up of three institutions housed in one stunning structure.
The building’s creators’ aim was to make a structure that would be on par with any other millennial piece of architecture as far as quality, technical excellence (including out of this world acoustics for those Budapest concerts!), and even looks and functionality. The results did not disappoint, as the building has the capacity to host performances of nearly any magnitude, size, and scale, as well as across near limitless genres and niches.
Part of Budapest’s Millennium City Centre complex and situated along the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Danube waterfront. Müpa’s three institutions are the Béla Bartók National Concert Hall, the Ludwig Museum of Modern Arts, and the Festival Theatre.
The Home of Classical Music
Franz Liszt Academy of Music is Hungary’s official music university. It also happens to house a music conservatory and one of the nation’s most stunning concert halls. Founded in 1875 by famed Hungarian composer Franz Liszt, the university was actually not named after Liszt until after it had been relocated to its current central Budapest address in 1925.
The present building is a stunning example of classic Art-Nouveau chic. Constructed at the turn of the century, in 1907, this masterpiece of Neo-Renaissance architecture boasts picturesque frescoes, gorgeous stained glass, and numerous mosaics. Moreover, the concert hall itself is said to be among the most beautiful in all of Europe, and certainly Budapest!
Enjoying a proud legacy as being one of the top elite music academies in the world, the university yearly attracts students from all corners of the globe, who come to be molded into true artists of their classical crafts among the hallowed halls that once housed the talents of world-famous musicians and composers such as Béla Bartók or Zoltán Kodály!
But about those shows though! The university features two concert halls, equally stunning in the Art-Nouveau style, and now has a recently annexed venue, the Liszt Academy Concert Centre, which offers visiting appreciators of the arts a true indulgence of Budapest music.
The Grand Opera House of Budapest
If you have had your fill of classical concerts in Budapest (at least for the moment) and opera is what your heart is hankering for, The Hungarian State Opera House will be right up your alley. Hands-down one of the most exquisitely beautiful buildings in all of Budapest, this venue is THE epicenter of all things opera in the entire nation of Hungary.
Offering near daily performances that’ll literally bring you to your feet (begging for an encore), or to your knees, this opera house is bound to have what will soon become your favorite show. And because it is so beloved, we highly recommend booking your tickets well in advance, as seats fill up fast for these much in-demand performances.
For those that may not necessarily go cuckoo over classical music or opera, but still enjoy delving into beautiful architectural design and history, the stunning Opera House can be toured, complete with a knowledgeable guide who can share the ins and outs of everything, including unique backstories. The tour is offered from 3PM and 4PM, so stroll around this opera house one afternoon, just to see what there is to see. You’ll not be disappointed!