János Balázs

L A D I E S    A N D    G E N T L E M E N ,

Everybody needs heroes, children and adults alike – after all, we all want to do good, to help or to create something long-lasting for our successors to build upon. A hero possesses something of the treasure we all seek. The fact that he shares his values with his fellow human beings instead of saving it all for himself bespeaks his greatness.

My hero is Georges Cziffra. He shines above my life and career like a guiding star. His spiritual legacy, his astounding musical talent, his integrity, and his selfless desire to help young musicians made him a legend in his lifetime. The Georges Cziffra Festival is aiming to continue all that Georges Cziffra created and dreamed of in France: a series of concerts, master classes, musical competition and an opportunity for young performers to make themselves known to the audience.

I inaugurate the Festival in 2016 in the hope that you will receive it graciously and with as much pleasure as it is offered to you by all of the participants and organisers.


Pianist, Liszt Prize and Junior Prima Prize awardee,
founder and art director of the Georges Cziffra Festival


Georges Cziffra’s original idea was that his son, Georges Cziffra Jr., himself an accomplished pianist and conductor, would carry on with the Music Festival and Cziffra Foundation he, the father stared in France. However, Georges Cziffra lost his son young in tragic circumstances and with this the musical strain died out in the family.

Initially he featured in the Hungarian state files as a dissident with a prison record. After the change of the political system his rehabilitation was somehow never opportune. In Hungary, for a long time there was no information at all about Georges Cziffra’s success abroad or on his dedicated patronage of young musicians at the outset of their careers. Neither the world of music nor the state felt something should be done to cultivate Cziffra’s work, yet young generations badly need an example to follow; heroes who trusted their own talent with perseverance and integrity, proudly and undaunted. Liszt Prize and Junior Prima Prize awardee pianist János Balázs considers Georges Cziffra his hero as a musician and as a person. He has had first-hand experience of how music and Cziffra’s career helped him first in respect of music, then in human and moral issues as well. He wishes to convey Cziffra’s “message” to everybody who feels they possess something that is not for sale and are capable of showing it to the world. To achieve this mission we launch a festival named after Georges Cziffra with the intent of presenting the Master’s career and lifetime work.

The mission of the Georges Cziffra Festival is to venerate the memory of the second best known Hungarian pianist after Franz Liszt in Hungary and worldwide, and to continue the tradition of high artistic standards, started by Georges Cziffra in his lifetime, to promote the careers of young musicians. His admirable life is guidance and a message for all: it is proof positive that it is possible to forge a brilliant career and worldwide fame against the odds of provenance and dire poverty if you believe in yourself and your talent.

We pay tribute, long overdue, to the art and work of Georges Cziffra with a large-scale festival. Patronage of young musicians, their introduction to a large audience was one of the goals closest to Georges Cziffra’s heart. Cziffra Foundation and his selfless help started several of the great contemporary pianists on their path to success. We also aim to preserve the memory of Georges Cziffra and his work, and to present it to a wide audience in the context of concerts and conversations, where Cziffra’s disciples and friends as well as musicians who have embraced his ideals and work play and talk. The main focus of the Festival is music but as art is multifaceted and there is much talent in Hungary, there will also be an art exhibition, as well as matinées and sessions to familiarise children with musical instruments. Master classes will also be offered during the Festival.

We consider it important that pianists who had an opportunity to learn from Georges Cziffra or are his intellectual heir and have themselves become internationally acclaimed should pass on what they have learnt from the Master to the next generation of pianists. In this effort we are backed by the most renowned Hungarian pianists. We launch the First Hungarian “Georges Cziffra” Music Competition for young musicians. We would like to stage the Festival and the adjoining master classes and Competition every year. We hope it will soon become a special feature and a unique attraction in the cultural life of Hungary.

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