...that in this year of Bartók Béla – the 135th anniversary of his birth – the Zeneakadémia (Academy of Music) will hold an international Bartók competition and festival? Finals planned for September 10-17, this first year’s event is limited to his violin compositions and focuses on the topic of dance. The festival will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first performance of Bartók’s ballet, ”The Wooden Prince”.
In addition to Bartók compositions, entrants will be required to play a variety of Mozart, Bach and Paganini pieces as well. Of the original 100 entrants, only 52 applicants (8 of them from Hungary) have a chance to play before the jury made up of internationally known violinists and music professors.
The next Bartók competition will concentrate on his piano music, to be followed by his works for chamber orchestra.
... that an Australian-Hungarian, Johanna Konta, won the Miami open this spring? Born in Sydney to Hungarian emigrés – her father was a hotelier, her mother a dentist – she began playing tennis at age 8, and at 11 was chosen to be a member of an elite squad of 24 for Tennis Australia. When funding was cut, she and her family returned to Europe, settling in England in 2006. She became the British No. 1 tennis player, and had a good showing at Wimbledon this spring, making it to the last four. She is ranked no. 4 in the world.
... that the combined team of the Fazekas Mihály Általános Iskola és Gimnázium of Budapest and the Magyar-Angol Tannyelvü Gimnázium és Kollégium of Balatonalmádi – entered as ”Team Europe” – won first prize in the First Global Challenge in robotics, held in Washington, D.C. in July? (Hungary was the only country of the 162 participating nations represented by two teams.) Students between the ages of 15 and 18 were eligible to participate.
This year’s challenge was to provide access to clean drinking water through a symbolic task to be carried out by robots.
... that the Hungarian postal service issued a commemorative block for the 200th anniversary of the birth of Arany János? Consisting of four stamps, each depicts a scene from one of Arany’s ballads, accompanied by a few lines of each poem, and illustrated by Zichy Mihály. Only 30,000 blocks of the very elegant and tasteful design were issued in July, and presumably were snapped up by philatelists.