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VC INTERVIEW | Cellist István Várdai - Hungary's Kaposfest Music Festival Artistic Director

VC recently caught up with cellist István Várdai - Artistic Director of the 2020 Kaposfest Music and Arts Festival, in Kaposvar, Hungary

The Violin Channel recently caught up with cellist István Várdai - Artistic Director of the 2020 Kaposfest Music and Arts Festival, in Kaposvar, Hungary.

Can you tell us about the KaposFest Music and Arts Festival? When was it founded?

"The festival was founded 11 years ago in a medium-sized town in Hungary called Kaposvár. From 2016, I have been responsible for creating the programme of the Festival with Kristóf Baráti, co-artistic director. In the first year, nobody knew if it would be a success or not, but the past 10 years proved that the event had great perspectives. Dozens of our best colleagues have come to Hungary year after year celebrating music and the arts. Among others Joshua Bell, Ilya Gringolts, Amihai Groosz, Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, Julien Quentin, Peter Frankl, Martin Först, Andreas Ottensamer, Randall Scarlata, and Vikingur Olafsson have already experienced the so called 'KaposFest Experience.'"


What is the mission of the KaposFest Music and Arts Festival?

"The mission of the festival is twofold. Firstly, we would like to widen the audience of classical music. The purpose is to strengthen the role of music education since it is especially important to help those preparing for a career in music. That is why we organize workshops and masterclasses during the festival. Every musician plays concerts and holds masterclasses during the festival in order to help emerging young talents."


The festival is unique with its integrated arts, concerts and food events. Can you tell us what measures the festival has put in place this year to adapt to the current COVID situation?

"The organization of the festival has been extremely difficult this year. We had to face problems and challenges that had been invisible during the previous years. Thanks largely to the efforts of our colleagues, we played every single concert twice to ensure the feeling of security. Also, we requested the members of the audience to wear masks during indoor events. I am thankful that all took our advice and we have had an exceptional experience."


Can you tell us more about the program and musicians that are featured?

"The festival consists of four days this year. The first day is dedicated to education. We organized a pre-festival workshop with masterclasses, public rehearsals, and presentations on innovations.

We invited our friends: Julien Quentin (pianist), Kirill Troussov Marc Bouchkov (violinists), Emőke Baráth (soprano), along with Barnabás Kelemen and Katalin Kokas were present at the Festival. We dedicated a day to Beethoven as we performed Beethoven’s Eroica with the Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra and I played Beethoven’s Trio Op. 1 No.1 with co-artistic director Kristóf Baráti and the outstanding young pianist Zoltán Fejérvári."


What are you most looking forward to at this year’s festival?

"I think we all were very excited about this year’s edition of KaposFest. Many of our colleagues had zero performances during the past couple of months. We were “hungry” to play together again and this situation gave the whole event a special atmosphere. More than 100 great musicians took part in the festival including orchestra musicians, soloists and chamber musicians. We celebrated music and the arts, and it is now more important than ever to do so."


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